Despite suggestions it would follow in the steps of the Tour of Qatar and disappear from the race calendar, the Tour of Oman returns in 2017 for the eight running of the Persian Gulf stage race. Organisers ASO have revealed the route for 2017, that will again featured six-stages, with the general classification to be decided on 'Green Mountain'. 18-teams, equally split between WorldTour and Pro-Continental, have been invited to the race that starts February 17 in Al Sawadi Beach.
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 spring, but breakaways have enjoyed great success and upset the peloton across the years in Oman.
2017 Tour of Oman parcours
Stage 1, Tuesday, February 14: Al Sawadi Beach - Naseem Park, 176.5km
Stage 2, Wednesday, February 15: Nakhal - Al Bustan, 145.5km
Stage 3, Thursday, February 16: Sultan Qaboos University - Quriyat, 162km
Stage 4, Friday, February 17: Yiti - Ministry of Tourism, 118km
Stage 5, Saturday, February 18: Sama’il - Jabal Al Akhdhar, 152.5km
Stage 6, Sunday, February 19: 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, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, Wallonie - Bruxelles, Wanty – Groupe Gobert, and Wilier Triestina.
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