Riders Ready For Tour Of Oman

12 February 2018 04:52
On the eve of stage 1 of the 9th Tour of Oman, the riders were greeted by the highest authorities of Muscat and expressed their ambitions for the upcoming six days of racing.

Oman greets the World’s best riders

The riders of the 2018 Tour of Oman were visited in the afternoon by the Chairman of Muscat Municipality Moshin bin Mohammed bin Ali Al Shaikh, the Minister of Tourism Ahmed Nasser Al Mahrazi, the undersecretary at Ministry of Information Ali bin Khalfan Al Jabri and Director-General of Operations of the Royal Oman Police Abdullah Mohammed Al Hosani. They welcomed the peloton and wished them a successful week on the roads of the Sultanate.

A new start
“We are delighted to be here for our first race of the season and for the first edition of a new six-year cycle that will see the Muscat municipality and ASO build even stronger ties”, the CEO of Amaury Sport Organisation, Yann Le Moenner, expressed on Monday morning during a press conference introducing the 9th edition of the Tour of Oman. The event was also the occasion for race director Franck Perque to get into the details of the race: “With stages designed for sprinteurs, others for puncheurs and the famous Green Mountain, everyone can aim for success on the Tour of Oman.”

Van Avermaet : “I’ve never won in Oman!”
With 34 professional victories to his name, including the Olympic title in 2016, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) is one of the greatest of his era… but he never claimed victory in the Tour of Oman, despite his seven participations in the race! “I’m looking forward to a beautiful week of racing”, the Belgian champion said on Monday. “We always enjoy a nice weather and beautiful roads. I like this route, it’s perfect to find rhythm. I hope to do good… but I can’t say I’ll win, I’ve never won in Oman! But as always I’ll give it all.” At least three stages could suit GVA’s all-round talents.

Sprinters are hungry for victory
After a crash in Dubai, Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis, Solutions crédits) is eager to express his talents at the Tour of Oman and claim his first victory of the season. “The first night was a little bit hard but now I feel better”, he said on Monday. “I’m feeling good, not so far from my best shape, and I want to enjoy the two opportunities there are for sprinters, on the first and last stages.” All eyes naturally turn to Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) when it comes to sprinting for glory but he tried to downplay expectations: “I don’t necessarily have big expectations, we’re coming here with climbers rather than the sprinting team.” And the British star, winner of 30 Tour de France stages, knows he’ll face a hard competition with the likes of Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates), Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept), Adam Blythe (Aqua Blue Sport), Magnus Cort Nielsen (Astana Pro Team)…

Green Mountain, THE main focus of the week
With two flat stages and a handful of hilly finishes this week, stage 5, on Saturday, is the one
expected to make the difference between the strongest riders of the 9th Tour of Oman. “This is a
race I know well, the overall victory will depend on what you can do on Green Mountain”, Rui
Costa (UAE Team Emirates) explained. “It’s a short climb, very explosive. You can’t hide”, he
added, one year after finishing 2nd overall of the Tour of Oman. Young Colombian talent Miguel
Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) will face the climb of Jabal Al Akhdar (5.7km, 10.5%) for the first
time: “I anticipate something very hard. More than 10%, that’s really difficult, and we’ll already
have fought on the flat, through the heat. But I’m feeling good, we’ll see how things go.”


Source: DSG