Tour of Oman to be more demanding
2016 Tour of Oman
Tour of Oman, which starts on Tuesday, is going to be more demanding than previous editions.
Stage 2 to Quriyat will feature a tough 2.8-km climb that could test the mettle of the very best. The summit finish atop Jabal Al Akhdar on Stage 4 has been extended by 1.8km, bringing the total distance to 7.5km at an average gradient of 10.7 per cent.
The race concludes with an opportunity for sprinters at Muttrah corniche.
Eighteen teams representing 12 countries will compete in the tour.
The first stage will start from Oman International Exhibition Centre till the Governorate of Muscat building in Al Bustan.
The seventh edition of the event starts on an uncertain note as the future course of action regarding the contract renewal will ‘depend on the success of the tour’.
“The government will decide after this edition of the race and it all depends on the success of the tour,” Oman’s Sports Activities Committee chairman Salim Bin Mubarak Al Hassani said at a press conference in Muscat on Monday. “There will be an announcement after this race.” Race organiser Eddy Merckx said he was optimistic the Tour of Oman would continue for another term. But he struck a cautious note too.
“Everything depends on the Muscat Municipality,” Merckx said. “The minister of tourism is very positive because cycling is the only sport that shows the whole country and that’s important for tourism.” Tour of Oman will feature 18 teams representing 12 countries.
The quartet of Grand Tour performers – BMC, Astana, AG2R and Giant-Alpecin –will be the sizzlers at the tournament.
Also, Etixx-QuickStep, Lampre-Merida, Dimension Data, LottoNL-Jumbo and Katusha will be eager to make their presence felt.
Vincenzo Nibali, Richie Porte, Tom Dumoulin and Romain Bardet have been confirmed as the marquee names at this year’s edition.
But two-time Tour of Oman winner Chris Froome of Team Sky has opted out of the tour. “He wanted to start off with a race at a small level,” Merckx added.
The tour concludes on February 21.
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