MUSCAT, MARCH 3 – The second edition of BikingMan saw records shatter all around as the cyclists broke the fastest time to cycle around the Sultanate. The unsupported race, saw 78 athletes cycling 1,040 km around Oman from February 24 to 28. BikingMan 2018 world champion smashed his last year’s performance by eight hours to reign supreme in Oman. The Peruvian managed this spectacular feat of cycling around Oman in 38h17min without sleeping.
“It was a great competition among professional endurance cyclists and I’m very satisfied with my performance,” a jubilant Soncco told Observer.
The Peruvian was also bowled over by the scenic beauty of the Sultanate during the various stages of the race.
“Climbing the Jebel Shams was an incredible experience. The climb is one of the toughest I had experienced. My legs are still paining,” Soncco said during the final award ceremony at the Grand Hyatt on February 28.
The race course was the longest cycling event of Oman with 1,040 kilometres and 7,500 metres of elevation gain. For the second edition, numerous world record athletes have smashed the fastest time to cycle around Oman.
He Jasmijn Muller (Netherlands), the 24-hour Time Trial female world champion, established the new female record with a time of 45h37min (4 hours faster than 2018 female record).
Cristian Auriemma and Jeff Webb (Italy and Norway), both ex-pro cyclists, crushed the team record with a time of 58h59min (13 hours faster than 2018 team record).
Among the 5 Omanis who participated in the race, the fastest time has been established by the Royal Army Solo athletes in 58h30min, by Mosaab al Rashdi and Mshari al Khalili.
All the athletes had to ride without any kind of external assistance, managing their own food, repairs and rest along the race course. They were all followed by a GPS live tracking system.
Starting in Barka at Al Nahda Resort, the race passed across the Al Hajar mountains with the checkpoint 1 located on top of Jebel Shams mountain. The second checkpoint was located on the Arabian Sea coast, in the middle of the desert. The Redbull finish line village, on the Muttrah corniche, has been welcoming day and night the athletes.
As many as 69 athletes managed to reach the finish line, the others gave up due to bike failures, minor crashes and fatigue.
RACE A HUGE
SUCCESS: OCA CHIEF
Saif al Rushaidi, President of Oman Cycling Association (OCA), said the second edition of BikingMan was a big success.
“We have seen improvement in many aspects. From 45 athletes in last year, we had 78 cyclists this year, who had put out a great effort to meet the challenges offered by the race.”
“BikingMan is one of the toughest race in the Middle East and offers a unique challenge for the racers with the variety of terrain in Oman. Stages include desert area, coastal line and mountains that gives a great experience for the athletes,” Al Rushaidi said.
He thanked Shaikh Saad bin Mohammed al Saadi, Minister of Sports Affairs, for the excellent support in hosting the event.
Al Saadi gave away the awards to the top winners and top category finishers of the race.
French explorer Axel Carion, CEO of BikingMan, thanked the Ministry of Sports Affairs, other government agencies and the private sector groups that helped to make the event a success.
“The highlights of the race are its tough and challenging natural stages in Oman. The athletes are amazed by the support and hospitality that the Sultanate offered during the race,” he said.
“Oman is the entry door to the Middle East,” Axel exclaimed.
The second edition, co-organised with Oman Cycling Association and the Ministry of Sports, has been highlighting safety on the road and medical presence, from the race start at Al Nahda resort — Barka to the finish ine in Muttrah. Thanks to mobile medical teams, road marshals provided by Harley Davidson Muscat, Oman Tel and Toyota Oman as official car suppliers of the event, the 78 athletes have been experiencing a race course under high surveillance.
This helped to enhance the safety of the race course where athletes are cycling on open roads.
Oman Air, the title sponsor of the event, was present at race start and checkpoints with flight attendants to welcome and greet the athletes and enhance their experience of exploring Oman.
All international athletes from 23 different countries have been amazed by Omani people’s hospitality encountered all along the race course as well as the presence of Omani supporters who were waiting and waving on the side of the road to encourage the athletes. The finish line in Muttrah kept attracting Omanis and tourists’ curiosity as the athletes keep arriving at the finish line day and night.
International athletes will soon race the 5 upcoming stages of the BikingMan Series: Corsica, Laos, Peru, Portugal and Taiwan.
The ultra cyclists will gather again late April for the Corsica stage around the Jewel island.
TOP 10 RESULTS – General classification
1. Rodney Soncco – Peru – Solo Male – 38h17m
2. Jason Black – Ireland – Solo Male- 40h32m
3. Josh Ibbett – United Kingdom – Solo Male – 41h22m
4. Peter Sandholt – Denmark – Solo Male – 42h50m
5. Michael Knudsen – Denmark – Solo Male – 43h36m
6. Daniel Green – United Kingdom – Solo Male – 44h41m
7. Matthijs Ligt – Netherlands – Solo Male – 45h17m
8. Niel Copeland – United Kingdom – Solo Male – 45h35m
9. Jasmijn Muller – Netherlands – Solo Female
(1st Female) – 45h37m
10. Helle BACHOFEN – Denmark – Solo Female – 46h30m