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You can read news related to the Tour of Oman in this section. When the actual Tour starts, we will be posting news of the daily progress of the participants. Keep visiting this section to get daily updates.


Cancellara triumphs in an epic end to the first Tour of Oman!
Friday, 19 February 2010

Thanks to the second fastest time of the final individual time-trial of the event, Fabian Cancellara claimed the overall victory of the very first edition of the Tour of Oman. Stage 6 was won by young Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen in a stunning time of 25’58 on the 19 km course, beating Cancellara and Meyer. After Paris-Roubaix, Olympic and World time-trial gold medals and stage successes on the Tour de France, Cancellara adds the Tour of Oman to his victory list. In the final general classification, the Saxo Bank rider won with a 28” lead over Boasson Hagen and Meyer.

Her Excellency Dr Rajha Bint Abdulamir Bin Ali, The Minister of Tourism was the guest of Honour at the final awards ceremony, The Tour organisers, Muscat Municipality, thank everyone who was involved in helping make this inaugural Tour such a success.

Stage 6: Al Jissah – Muscat Corniche, 19 kilometres
125 riders at the start; 16 teams
Perfect weather

The riders only had a short distance to walk from their rooms at the Barr Al Jissah resort to reach the start line for the final stage of the 687 km Tour of Oman: a hilly 19km individual time-trial against the clock taking the riders all the way from the Barr Al Jissah Shangri-La to the Fish Souq Roundabout on the Muttrah Corniche.

Taking off in 92nd position, Edvald Boasson Hagen proved, once again, what a promising rider he is. The Norwegian clocked the fastest time at the intermediate time-check (km 10) in 16’01, before winning the stage thanks to a final time of 25’58 (average speed of 43.902 km/h). The Team Sky rider who had already claimed Stage 3 of the event beat Fabian Cancellara (SAX) by 17” and Cameron Meyer (GRM) by 45”.

In the final general classification, Cancellara won the inaugural tour with a 28” lead over Boasson Hagen and Meyer. The points classification was won by Boasson Hagen who also finishes best young rider. The most aggressive rider standing is claimed by Gatis Smukulis (ALM). "I haven't suffered like that in a time trial for a long time. Even when I won the world title last year it didn't hurt like that," Tour winner, Fabian Cancellara said at the finish.

"It's great to win the overall but most of all it's been a fascinating trip. The Oman people are special. We get hung up about so many things but they know how to enjoy life."

The Guest of Honour for the final stage and presiding over the final rankings for this inaugural Tour was Her Excellency Dr Rajha Bint Abdulamir Bin Ali. The closing ceremony began with a short video recapping a few of the many highlights of the Tour before Her Excellency handed over the first prize; after which she said “ Football is the sport of our stadiums, we have sailing off our beaches and this Tour of Oman has now shown us how cycling is the sport of our countryside. Throughout the last six days we have showcased the beauty of the Sultanate to the world and it is through events like this that we can realise the potential of our Country as a tourist destination.”

The closing ceremony ended with a floury of red, white and green confetti sprayed over the winners and a photo call with the main guests while traditional drummers and young BMX riders also entertained the thousands of spectators who had come down to the corniche to support the riders on their final leg of this grueling six day event.

His Excellency Sultan bin Hamdoon Al Harthi, Head of Muscat Municipality and event organiser, was extremely pleased with the teamwork that went on behind the scenes to bring an event of this scale to Oman and said "The success of the Tour of Oman is testament to the collaboration of a number of different organisations who have all worked tirelessly together over the last few months to enable us to host such an impressive world class event at a world class standard. My thanks goes in particular to the Royal Oman Police, the Ministries of Tourism, Sports, Education and Interior, our corporate sponsors, but more importantly to every man, woman and child who came out to support the cyclists. The last six days have shown us that we are ready to host international events here in Oman and I hope the Tour of Oman will become a historic event that will firmly become a highlight on the international sporting calendar world wide. This was just the start."



Stage 5
Thursday, 18 February 2010
 
     
 


Positions at the top change again after the end of Stage 5
Thursday, 18 February 2010

Tom Boonen made the best of a bunch sprint to capture his first success on the Tour of Oman. After an early breakaway including three men, the pack made it together by the Sultan Qaboos Stadium where Boonen outsprinted his rivals. The Belgian beat Haedo and Van Staeyen to the line. The overall leader’s red jersey remains on the shoulders of Daniele Bennati. The Minister for Sports Affairs was the Guest of Honour for the prize giving and presented the winning Jerseys at Sultan Qaboos Stadium.

Stage 5: Wattayah – Sultan Qaboos Stadium, 148 kilometres
125 riders at the start; 16 teams
Perfect weather

Beautiful sunshine and a slight wind welcomed the riders at Wattayah for the start of stage 5. Within seconds the pack was riding at full speed through Qurum and onto the Beach Road before passing the new Royal Opera House and onto 18th November Street. The pack took off at a fairly fast pace along the sea (47.3 kms covered during the first hour) and several riders, including Philippe Gilbert, tried their luck in the lead. But every single breakaway attempt was chased and caught by a hungry pack.

The route took the riders on a 148km speed run on fairly flat terrain out of Muscat past The Wave, Muscat and onto Al Hail, As Seeb and Barka before returning to Muscat past Al Naseem Park, Sultan Qaboos University and through Gala. Yet again, the riders were met by cheering crowds of local well-wishers along the full route including hundreds of school children waving flags and balloons as well as a full troupe of dancers and drummers waiting at the entrance to the Wilyat of Barka.

Amongst all the festivities three men managed a decisive break around the 20 kilometre mark: Eskov (KAT), Ballan (BMC) and Pronk (VAC). Indeed the gap grew from 1’15 at km 22 to a maximum 5’ at the 50 km mark. 2008 World champion, Alessandro Ballan, made it first to the intermediate sprint line (km 61) ahead of Eskov and Pronk, as the leading three could still enjoy a 4’30 lead over the pack. As the Liquigas team of red jersey Daniele Bennati picked up the pace at the front of the bunch, the gap dropped down: 4’ at km 77 and 3’30 at the second bonus sprint (km 93.5) claimed by Ballan again, in front of Pronk and Eskov.

With 25 kilometres to go, the front men’s advantage was of only a minute. After a 113 km break, the three escapees were finally caught by the pack. It was time for the Quick Step, Liquigas, Saxo Bank and Sky teams to move up to the front to prepare for an expected bunch sprint. On the final straight, Boonen (QST) made the best of his blue Quick Step train to beat Haedo (SAX) and Van Staeyen (TSV). The red jersey remains on the shoulders of Daniele Bennati. The Italian now has a slim 2” overall lead on Boonen and 6” on Farrar. Tyler Farrar (GRM) keeps his green points jersey. Gatis Smukulis (ALM) remains the leader of the best young rider and most aggressive rider standings.

The Minister of Sports Affairs His Excellency Eng. Ali bin Masoud al-Sinaidi presented the jerseys to the winning cyclists amongst more dancing and drumming from local folk lore bands. "These world class initiatives from both government and non-government bodies are a testament to the importance of sport and motivating the youth of our country. We started with the Olympic Torch, followed by the GCC Gulf Cup, last week Oman Sail held the Extreme Sailing Series and now we are hosting international cycling with the Tour of Oman. I am very grateful to Muscat Municipality for organising the Tour as well as the Ministry of Tourism, Royal Oman Police and the private companies who have stepped up to support this event in such a professional manner.”

Also at the finish line to cheer on the cyclists as they fought for the stage win was Oman Football Coach Claude Le Roy who was equally ecstatic at how the Tour of Oman is helping to shape the sporting arena in the Sultanate "This event is of the highest calibre and it is fantastic to see the best of the world's professional cyclists competing here; this is not a second rate competition with 'B' rated teams ! I do not believe there is a better way for the world to discover the beauty of Oman. I am a footballer by profession, but cycling is also a love of mine and it is incredible to see one of the world's most amazing cyclists of all times and one of the key organisers of the Tour of Oman, Mr. Eddie Merckx, just a few metres away from me. Congratulations to Muscat Municipality for the vision to run such an excellent event."

Tomorrow is the finale from 2pm, with individual sprints from Barr Al Jissah departing every minute. The closing ceremony scheduled at 4pm will be held at the Piazza near the Fish Market on Al Bahari Road in Mutrah. Motorists should note that roads on to the Al Bahri area will be closed soon after Friday Prayers.

Be there to witness who amongst these energetic cyclists will wear the Tour of Oman red jersey



Stage 4
Wednesday, 17 February 2010
 
     
 


The Tour of Oman sees a change in the leader at the end of Stage 4
Wednesday, 17 February 2010

The Tour of Oman’s longest stage proved to be extremely eventful. In the final 50 kilometres after a group of escapees was caught back, the pack broke up and overall leader Boasson Hagen was trapped in a second bunch. Forty riders made it clear to the finish line in Nakhal where Leigh Howard captured the stage victory. The red jersey switches shoulders and goes to Daniele Bennati.

Stage 4: Ibri - Nakhal, 187 kilometres
125 riders at the start; 16 teams
Perfect weather

After a transfer by plane from Muscat, the riders of the Tour of Oman took off from Ibri, just by its impressive stadium, for the 4th stage of the event. Even though the race started late, the journey heading east towards the Omani coastline made it easier for the cyclists as they endured a cool breeze, not the hot air off the tarmac as was experienced yesterday.

Immediately after the start, six riders took off: Novoa Menendez (CTT), Trussov (KAT), Smukulis (ALM), Van Groen (VAC), Lemoine (SAU) and King (TLS). The gap increased rapidly: from 1’30 at kilometre 10 to a maximum 6’55 at the first intermediate sprint (km 45.5) won by Trussov ahead of Smukulis and Lemoine. Heading down south-east through the magnificent Hajar mountain ranges of Oman, the pack led by Team Sky moved closer.

At the second intermediate sprint (km 121) claimed by Smukulis ahead of Trussov and Lemoine, the gap had dropped down to 2’40. Under the influence of a crosswind, the pack then broke up into two groups. Bad news for overall leader Edvald Boasson Hagen who was stuck at the back after stopping on the side of the road to answer a call of nature. The Team Sky riders did their best to try and bring their leader back to the front and close the gap on the front bunch.

Meanwhile the 6 leaders were finally caught at km 146 as 41 riders gathered at the front. Among the leading group were the likes of Cancellara (SAX), Boonen (QST), Eisel (THR), Farrar (GRM), Bennati (LIQ) and Burghardt (BMC). Their lead increased over the red jersey group: from 35” at km 146, to 50” with 25 kms to go and a further 1’05, ten kilometres from the finish. A real nightmare for young Boasson Hagen who saw his hopes of overall success slowly fade away.

The front pack made it together to the city of Nakhal with a decent enough gap to start focusing on a bunch sprint. Nakhal portrayed itself as the cradle of festivities where the towns people came in force at the finish line. What a spectacular finish that was, won by a new entrant to the list of prospective winners. Since the start of the Tour, this stretch from Ibri passing by Al Awabi and Rustaq was the longest so far. It gave these cyclists a different perspective to ponder as they wheeled across plains and oases, foothills and farms. The most impressive were the Hajar mountains at the backdrop, an Omani terrain that surely will make the UCI as well as Tour de France organisers take pause and admit that they hit spot on where world stages were concerned.

Against experienced sprinters like Boonen or Farrar, young Leigh Howard (THR) impressed as he captured his first success in Oman. Quite a performance for the Australian who managed to beat Bennati and Boonen to the line. The overall leader’s red jersey goes to yesterday’s stage winner, Italy’s Daniele Bennati who now has a 6” lead over Farrar, while the former race leader, Boasson Hagen made it to the line with a 1’05 deficit. Tyler Farrar takes command of the points classification while the best young rider is now Smukulis (ALM). Once again in the day’s break, the Latvian leads the most aggressive rider standings. “I would have rather won the stage, but taking the leader's jersey is a good consolation,” Bennati said. “Now I'll try and gain a few more seconds in Thursday's stage and then hopefully defend the jersey in the time trial.”

“It was an aggressive stage,” the Italian continued. “Sky had the jersey and it was their responsibility to chase the break they had let go. Racing is racing but perhaps it wasn't fair they attacked when Boasson Hagen stopped for a call of nature.”

First with the Extreme Sailing and now the Tour of Oman, cycling has brought a purpose for Omanis to participate in sports. The soccer game schedule for next week with our GCC counterparts Kuwait, is creating yet another buzz with the fans, to get Oman a chance to partake in the Asian Cup. Placing us further up the ladder in endurance sports.

Today (Thursday) will bring Muscat to a standstill as the route goes a long a major artery of Muscat’s roads. Motorists are requested to keep off the main highway from Ruwi passing through Wattayeh and on towards Seeb and Barka late morning. Incoming traffic from Barka in Al Batinah to the Sultan Qaboos stadium in Bausher will be disrupted from 2pm and motorists are requested to seek alternative routes.



Stage 3
Tuesday, 16 February 2010
 
     
 


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