Muscat: The 2016 TransHajar Mountain Bike Race got off to a great start with Austria’s Uwe Warter Hochen emerging the runaway winner of the first stage on Monday.
The annual multi-day mountain bike race, organised by the Oman Cycling Association (OCA), was officially launched in Al Salil by OCA chief Saif bin Sabaa Al Rushaidi at 8 a.m.
Uwe Warter Hochen, of German team Craft Rocky Mountain Factory, won the 80-km first stage almost unchallenged, covering the distance in three hours, 40 minutes and 28 seconds.
Uwe’s nearest rivals Christian Rosvig Hogh and Jacob Lykke Grann, both from Denmark representing Pronghorn Racing, finished way behind clocking similar times of 4:19:31 to settle for second and third places respectively.
Meanwhile, Oman’s Hatim Al Booshri finished in the fourth place. The Royal Army of Oman (RAO) rider clocked 4:29:43.
Day’s winner Uwe Warter Hochen said he “enjoyed” the mountains.
“Oman has a great mountainous terrain. I would like to see all cyclists to participate in this event,” he said.
Christian Rosvig Hogh, meanwhile, described the race as very demanding one.
“It’s a very demanding race that requires a lot of technical effort to reach the finish,” he said.
Oman’s Hatim expressed delight in finishing fourth among the best riders from all over the world.
“This (fourth place) will provide me with a big motivation to do well in the remaining stages,” he said.
The four-stage 321.6km race, which has attracted teams from across the world including those from the UK, Austria, Denmark, United States and South Africa are taking part in the race, will continue on Tuesday with 93km second stage.
The race takes riders across some of the Sultanate’s most spectacular and rugged landscape, with challenging climbs, descents and customised single-track racing through the eastern Hajar Mountains.
Meanwhile, OCA official Saud bin Hamad Al Rawahi said: “This race is among the best mountain bike races of the world that attract famous cyclists. It tests the endurance and technical abilities of the riders.”