The organisers of the Tour of Oman have announced that Tejay van Garderen (BMC), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-Quick Step), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) will ride and possibly challenge for overall victory at the 2015 Tour of Oman.
The sixth edition of the six-day stage race will be held between February 17-22, following on from the Tour of Qatar. Both races are organised by Tour de France organiser ASO in association with Eddy Merckx.
The Grand Tour contenders are likely to fight for overall victory on the decisive stage to Green Mountain, while the sprinters and Classics riders usually dominate the other, flatter stages.
Chris Froome (Team Sky) won the 2014 Tour of Oman but is expected to begin his 2015 season at the Ruta del Sol in Spain.
Van Garderen finished a morale-boosting second overall behind Froome, despite making his season debut in the race. The American impressed on the climb to Green Mountain, finishing just 22 seconds behind Froome. Philippe Gilbert is also expected to be part of the BMC team.
Despite uncertainty about the WorldTour status of Nibali's Astana team, the Tour de France winner has been named as a contender for the Tour of Oman. Last year he clashed with Froome but was not at his best and finished 12th overall. Depending on the final team line-ups, Nibali's young teammate and rival Fabio Aru could also ride the Tour of Oman.
Race organisers also listed Tom Boonen and Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quick Step), Warren Barguil (Alpecin-Giant), Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), Nacer Bouhanni (COF), Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka) on the initial entry list. The FDJ team will include Kenny Elissonde, Steve Morabito, Arnold Jeannesson and sprinter Arnaud Démar.
A total of 18 WorldTour and Professional Continental teams will ride the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman.
The 18 teams are: Orica-GreenEdge, Etixx-QuickStep, Topsport Vlaanderen–Baloise, Cofidis, FDJ.fr, Bora-Argon 18, Team Sky, Bardiani CSF, Lampre-Merida, Astana, Giant-Alpecin, Katusha, Tinkoff-Saxo, MTN-Qhubeka, Movistar, IAM Cycling, BMC Racing Team and Trek Factory Racing.