The tenth edition of the Tour of Oman will again offer chances for the sprinters and Classics riders, with the 5.7km climb to the finish on the slopes of Green Mountain expected to decide the overall race winner.
The 2019 Tour of Oman will be held between February 16-21. These dates overlap with the Colombia 2.1 stage race, the Volta ao Algarve and other races in Europe, but it could be a perfect way to prepare for the UAE Tour, which begins on February 25 and is part of the WorldTour.
Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko won the 2018 Tour of Oman and he is expected to return this year. Organisers will invite 18 teams to the race, including CCC Team, Dimension Data, UAE Team Emirates, Katusha-Alpecin, Bahrain-Merida, Cofidis and the US Professional Continental team Rally UHC.
Greg Van Avermaet is expected to use the Tour of Oman to fine-tune his form for the spring Classics and especially the Opening Weekend in Belgium on the first weekend of March. Sprint contenders expected in Oman include Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) and André Greipel with his new Arkea Samsic team.
The sprinters are likely to dominate the opening stage to Suhar Corniche, which features a wide, 1,300m finishing straight.
The rolling stages to Al-Bustan and Qurayyat are more for the rouleurs. Nathan Haas (Katusha-Alpecin) won at Al-Bustan last year, while Søren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb) dominated the 2.8km Qurayyat climb.
Stage 4 between Yiti (Al Sifah) and the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre includes three laps over the climb up Al-Jabal Street before the finish, with the Queen stage to Green Mountain coming the day after.
This year the Green Mountain stage starts in Samayil, with riders covering 145km before the 5.7km, 10.5 per cent climb up to the finish line.
The sprinters will get a final chance to shine on the Matrah Corniche, with the traditional fast and furious loop along the bay and the slightly downhill finish.
2019 Tour of Oman stages:
Stage 1: Al Sawadi Beach - Suhar Corniche, 138.5km
Stage 2: Royal Cavalry Oman - Al Bustan, 156.5km
Stage 3: Shati Al Qurum - Qurayyat, 192.5km
Stage 4: Yiti (Al Sifah) - Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre, 131km
Stage 5: Samayil - Jabal Al Akhdhar (Green Mountain), 152km
Stage 6: Al Mouj Muscat - Matrah Corniche, 135.5km