The Tour of Oman will cover a hillier route in 2011 with a finish on the slopes of the Jebel Akhdar mountain and an 18km individual time trial.
Fabian Cancellara won the first edition of the race this year. The second edition of the six-stage race will be held in mid-February (15-20) following on from the Tour of Qatar (February 6-11).
Tour of Oman organiser Eddy Merckx, the Tour de France Director Christian Prudhomme and Bernard Hinault joined the Muscat Municipality Director-General Saif Al Rashidy in Oman to unveil the full route and reveal the teams invited to take part.
Sixteen teams of eight riders will line-up for the race, including the new Pegasus Sports team, Astana, Garmin-Cervelo, Geox-TMC, Liquigas-Cannondale, Team Sky, HTC-Highroad and the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project. Big names on the start list last year included Tyler Farrar, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Tom Boonen, Daniele Bennati, Taylor Phinney and Filippo Pozzato.
The 2011 race begins with a 158km stage on the coast near the capital Muscat and then a transfer to the southern coastal town of Sur for stage 3. The finish on Jebel Akhdar is on stage four after 157km of racing and the18km time trial is on stage five. The race ends with a 157km stage from Qurayyat to the Mattrah Seafront.
“In February 2011 the Tour will be one of the key highlights of the Muscat Festival (January 27 – February 24), an annual showcase of Oman’s heritage and culture. The competitors will be racing across some of the most spectacular Omani countryside as well as through the heart of Muscat,” Saif Al Rushaidy said.
ASO will again be responsible for the technical organisation of the race, and Tour de France Director Christian Prudhomme, praised the atmosphere of the inaugural edition in 2010.
“Racing through Oman’s magnificent countryside, the atmosphere was exhilarating. With the edition of the Sultanate of Oman to the world circuit, the cycling world continues to extend its realm in new directions. More than ever, we believe that the Tour of Oman has a great future worthy of the prestige of this great nation.”
Eddy Merckx said, “Oman is a breathtakingly beautiful country and an exciting addition to the international cycling calendar. This is a race to watch.”
The teams invited to the Tour of Oman are
BMC Racing Team
Farnese Neri Cycling Team
Lampre-I S D
Quickstep Cycling Team
Sky Pro Cycling Team
Team HTC – Highroad
The Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project