Muscat: The organisers of Tour of Oman, Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) have revealed the route and the confirmed teams for the 2017 edition which is scheduled to take place in February.
According to news posted on cyclingnews.com, the eighth Tour of Oman will again feature six stages, with the general classification to be decided on Jabel Akhdar (Green Mountain) and 18 teams, equally split between WorldTour and Pro-Continental, have been invited to the race that starts off Al Sawadi Beach on February 17.
The 2016 edition was won by Vincenzo Nibali of Astana before he went on to claim victory in the Giro d’Italia. His new team Bahrain-Merida have been invited to the race for the first time, as has new WorldTour outfit UAE Abu Dhabi. Alexander Kristoff and Edvald Boasson Hagen both won two stages of last year’s race with Katusha-Alpecin and Dimension Data respectively and the two squads will return in 2017.
With no Sky, Lotto Soudal or LottoNL-Jumbo on the start list, Nibali is the only former overall winner of the race who can line up and aim to join Chris Froome on two wins.
AG2R La Mondiale, BMC, Quick-Step Floors, and Team Sunweb are the other WorldTour teams to make the trip to Oman in February and will aim to bag a win before retuning back to Europe.
From the Pro-Continental list, Aqua Blue Sport will line out at the race in its debut season while Wanty-Groupe Gobert, still celebrating its Tour de France wild card status, will be keen to demonstrate to ASO its sporting strength.
While several of the stage starts and finishes are familiar to the peloton over the last few years, there is a change to the schedule of stages. The decisive ‘Green Mountain’ stage becomes the penultimate stage of the 2017 edition of the race which last occurred in 2014. The remaining stages are titled towards the sprinters and classics riders, who use the race as a key hit out before the sprint, but breakaways have enjoyed great success and upset the peloton across the years in Oman.
Feb 14: Stage 1, Al Sawadi Beach - Naseem Park, 176.5km
Feb 15: Stage 2, Nakhal - Al Bustan, 145.5km
Feb 16: Stage 3, Sultan Qaboos University - Quriyat, 162km
Feb 17: Stage 4, Yiti - Ministry of Tourism, 118km
Feb 18: Stage 5, Sama’il - Jabal Al Akhdhar, 152.5km
Feb 19: Stage 6, The Wave Muscat - Matrah Corniche, 130.5km
AG2R La Mondiale, Astana Pro Team, Bahrain - Merida, BMC Racing Team, Quick - Step Floors, Team Dimension Data, Team Katusha Alpecin, Team Sunweb, and UAE Abu Dhabi.
Aqua Blue Sport, CCC Sprandi Polkowice, Delko Marseille Provence KTM, Nippo - Vini Fantini, Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise, United Healthcare Pro Cycling Team, Wallonie - Bruxelles, Wanty – Groupe Gobert, and Wilier Triestina.