Tour of Oman organiser Christian Prudhomme has formulated a much hiller route for the second edition of the six-stage Tour of Oman, starting on Tuesday, February 15, and running until Sunday, February 20 2011.
The inaugural event last year was won by Fabian Cancellara. The Swiss rider returns for 2011 wearing the number one plate for new team, Leopard-Trek, but he may find this year’s tougher route doesn’t favour him quite so well.
Though the two Middle East races get lumped together, the mountains and individual time trial mark out the Tour of Oman from the previous week’s flat, wind-swept and sandy Tour of Qatar – largely dominated by sprinters. This year, Oman’s stage four finishes part-way up a 3,000 metre climb, the Jabal al Akhdhar or Green Mountain, prior to the following day’s 18.5 kilometre test against the clock.
Many of the 16 teams taking part will use either the same or similar line-ups as they did in Qatar. Classics specialists will be looking to improve their form ahead of their imminent spring campaign in Europe, sprinters will still have an opportunity to win on the flatter stages, climbers will have a chance to test their legs on stage four, and time trial specialists will have their first chance of a long test against the clock this season. Something for everyone.
Seven British riders will take part in the race: Russell Downing (Team Sky), Jeremy Hunt (Team Sky), Ian Stannard (Team Sky), Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad), Andrew Fenn (An Post-Sean Kelly), Mark McNally (An Post-Sean Kelly) and Roger Hammond (Garmin-Cervelo).
Both Hammond and Hunt are in good shape, having placed fifth and sixth overall behind winner Mark Renshaw (HTC-Highroad) in the Tour of Qatar. Cavendish may have three or four chances to take a couple of stage wins in sprints if he has sufficiently recovered from his Qatar crash injuries.
Sky riders Downing, Hunt and Stannard will likely rally around Norwegian team-mate Edvald Boasson Hagen, who placed second overall last year behind Cancellara after beating him in the time trial.
Along with Cancellara and Boasson Hagen, other likely contenders for the overall include BMC debutant Taylor Phinney, Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha), Robert Gesink (Rabobank), Denis Menchov (Geox-TMC) and Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana).
Tour of Oman 2011: Video
Tour of Oman 2011: Latest news
Gesink happy to have taken second triumph in Oman
Tour of Oman 2011: Stage reports
Tour of Oman 2011: Stages
Tuesday, February 15 – Stage 1: as Sawadi – Al Seeb, 158km, winner: Theo Bos>>
Wednesday, February 16 – Stage 2: The Wave, Muscat – Al Wutayya, 139km, winner: Matt Goss>>
Thursday, February 17 – Stage 3: Sur – Sur, 208km, winner: Theo Bos>>
Friday, February 18 – Stage 4: Sultan Qaboos University – Jabal al Akhdhar (Green Mountain), 157km, winner: Robert Gesink>>
Saturday, February 19 – Stage 5: Al Jissah – Al Jissah (TT), 18.5km, winner: Robert Gesink>>
Sunday, February 20 – Stage 6: Qurayyat – Mattrah Seafront, 157km, winner: Mark Cavendish>>
Total distance: 848 kilometres
Overall winner: Robert Gesink (Rabobank)
Tour of Oman 2011: British TV guide
The 2011 Tour of Oman will be shown on cable and satellite channel British Eurosport. Times may be subject to change.
Stage one, Wednesday (16 Feb) 8.30am British Eurosport 2, repeated 10pm British Eurosport 2
Stage two, Thursday (17 Feb) 10am British Eurosport 2, repeated 10pm British Eurosport 2
Stage three, Friday (18 Feb) 8.30am British Eurosport 2, repeated 10pm British Eurosport 2
Stage four, Saturday (19 Feb) 8.30am British Eurosport 2, repeated 10pm British Eurosport 2
Stage five, Sunday (20 Feb) 8.30am British Eurosport 2, repeated 10.15pm British Eurosport 2
Stage three, Friday (18 Feb) 8.45am British Eurosport 2, repeated 10pm British Eurosport 2
Stage six, Monday (21 Feb) 8.30am British Eurosport 2, repeated 8.45pm British Eurosport 2
Tour of Oman 2011: Teams
An Post-Sean Kelly (Ireland)
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Farnese Vini-Neri (Great Britain)
Francaise des Jeux (France)
Quick Step (Belgium)
Team Sky (Great Britain)
Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator (Belgium)
Tour of Oman 2011: British riders (subject to confirmation)
Russell Downing (Team Sky)
Jeremy Hunt (Team Sky)
Ian Stannard (Team Sky)
Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad)
Andrew Fenn (An Post-Sean Kelly)
Mark McNally (An Post-Sean Kelly)
Roger Hammond (Garmin-Cervelo)
Tour of Oman: Last year’s top ten (2010)
1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Saxo Bank in 16-02-52
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky at 28secs
3. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Garmin-Transitions at same time
4. Marco Pinotti (Ita) HTC-Columbia at 31secs
5. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo at 47secs
6. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Milram at 54secs
7. Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team at 1-02
8. Martin Velits (Svk) HTC-Columbia at 1-07
9. Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Quick Step at 1-12
10. Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo at 1-13
19. Roger Hammond (GB) Cervelo at 1-43
61. Daniel Lloyd (GB) Cervelo at 3-36
65. Alex Dowsett (GB) Trek-LiveStrong at 3-53
70. Ian Stannard (GB) Team Sky at 4-22
80. Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky at 5-00
Tour of Oman: Previous winners
2010: Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)