Cycling: Jebel Akhdar unveiled as centrepiece of Haute Route Oman
September 12, 2018 | 6:04 PM
by Times News Service

MUSCAT: The inaugural Haute Route Oman course will offer riders a once in a lifetime opportunity to take part in a climb up the whole of Jebel Akhdar in the heart of the magnificent Al Hajar mountain range.

Previously only open to professional World Tour riders taking part in the Tour of Oman, the full 13.73km route from the base of the Green Mountain is classified as an HC climb (hors categorie) – the hardest category – with an average 10.3 percent gradient and 1,411m vertical gain, and is widely acknowledged as the best in the whole Middle East region.

It’s a mountain challenge accepted and won by the likes of Chris Froome – who won the stage on the Tour of Oman in 2013 and 2014 – though the pro racers only take on half the full climb. On Haute Route Oman a 32 cassette and compact chain ring will be essential here.

The Jebel Akhdar experience is, however, just part of a course which has been designed to highlight Oman’s unique natural beauty alongside a memorable cycling challenge.

From March 1 to 3, 2019 Haute Route Oman will take riders on a 238km route that will include climbs with an elevation gain totalling 5,248 metres. Day one includes the formidable Jebel Akhdar climb as part of an 83.27km classic road format stage.

The second day also features a classic road stage – this a 145.3km course taking in the 22.8km HC Hoota Climb which has an average 5.9 percent gradient with spikes up to 11 percent. The field’s reward is a summit view of Wadi Banyal – also known as the ‘Grand Canyon of Oman’ – and then a fast sweeping 23km descent.

Individual time trials on the final day will see riders pass through the idyllic 400-year-old village of Al Hamra on a 9.33km course which concludes with a 7.4 percent gradient mini-climb of 343m to the finish in the iconic village of Misfat Al Abryyn in the heart of the Sultanate.

As with all Haute Route events the ground-breaking Oman edition will deliver a ‘professional’ road riding experience for keen cyclists with outriders, support cars, full rider and medical services, and expert event management by Oman Sail in a setting that reflects the culture of the professional road racing circuit.

In addition to the challenging climbs and incredible landscapes, Haute Route Oman will be held in perfect road conditions with no pot holes and police-controlled roads without traffic.

“As promised, our inaugural Haute Route Oman course will deliver a special and unique experience set against the country’s stunning natural environment and uniquely welcoming culture,” said Salma Al Hashmi, Oman Sail Chief of Marketing. “We are excited to be able to offer Haute Route Oman riders something that no other amateur cycling event can with the Jebel Akhdar climb and to give them a cycling holiday to remember and hopefully to come back and do again and again!”

Haute Route CEO, Rémi Duchemin, added: “We wanted our first venture into the Middle East to be a must-do event for riders from around the world, and I believe we have achieved that with the Haute Route Oman.”

Ranked 4th safest country in the world by the World Economic Forum, the Sultanate of Oman has much to offer the adventure traveller beyond cycling. With pristine beaches and some of the most sought-after diving spots in the world, plus hiking, climbing, sailing, mountain biking and much more on offer there is something for the whole family to enjoy should Haute Route Oman riders chose to make a holiday of it and bring their families.

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