Inaugural Tour of Oman to end with Time Trial
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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Inaugural Tour of Oman to end with Time Trial

by VeloNation Press at 2:20 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
The Tour of Oman is set to take place for the first time on Valentine's Day February 14th, 2010. The six-day stage race immediately follows the Tour of Qatar, and represents a concerted effort to globalize the sport of cycling. The Amaury Sports Organization (ASO), who organize of both events, told Biciclismo that they have decided to make sure this first edition goes down to the wire, and will cap it off with a time trial on the final day. The course will be run through the streets of Muscat, the capital of the Sultanate of Oman.

Like Qatar, legendary cyclist Eddy Merckx was instrumental in bringing this new event to cycling. Earlier this year when he was working to make the race happen, Merckx told niewsblad.be that the country's terrain was good for a bike race. "I have visited the country in western Asia," he said. "The leaders have asked me my opinion. The road is very good. In contrast to Qatar, it is hilly and in the northern part they have mountains."

Since this is the first edition of the race the peloton will surely arrive with question marks about the event. While Merckx' comments imply that they could make the race difficult, the fact that it is at the beginning of the season will likely have organizers tone down the parcours.

For the last couple of years the Sultanate of Oman has been positioning itself as a tourist destination. It has been featured in many publications, and won "Top Destination" in Vogue Magazine for 2008. They have decided to use the Tour to market Oman as a resort destination, following the examples given by the three Grand Tours, as well as the Tours of Britain, California, Ireland, and Missouri.

The ASO has confirmed participation in the event by BMC Racing, Milram and Columbia-HTC.
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