The 2018 Tour of Oman (February 13-18) will see some of the world’s top riders compete over six stages in the Middle East.

The race, which is a 2.HC event on the UCI Asia Tour, offers a varied parcours with stages for every type of rider, and has therefore attracted some pretty big names.

With at least three of the six stages being for the sprinters, there is a strong field of fastmen, including Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates), and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis).

However the race overall will likely be decided on the summit finish to Jabal Al Akhdhar (Green Mountain) on stage five, where Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) are likely to be among the favourites for victory.

>>> Tour of Oman 2018 route: stage by stage

Among the other big names on the start list are Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) and Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step Floors) who will hope to excel on the lumpier stages on the second and fourth days.

The third stage of the race is one for the puncheurs, with the riders covering 179.5km between German University of Technology and Wadi Dayqah Dam, including an uphill drag towards the line.

The 2018 Tour of Oman continues on Friday with a 117.5km stage from Yiti (Al Sifah) to Ministry of Tourism which features three tough climbs in the second half of the stage.