2023 Tour of Oman Overall Preview

Welcome to the hardest edition of the Tour of Oman. There’s not too much for the sprinters, the organisers have introduced a couple of new stages to shake things up a bit. In what can be a boring race, it’s good to see them trying something different.

The opening stage is the only one that is likely to end in a big sprint. We have Merlier, Cavendish and Ackermann at the race, we’ll have to see who comes out on top.

Scenario – bunch sprint.

The finish in Qurayyat has been used a lot in the last editions of the race. It is 3km at 6.3% and is one for the fast-finishing climbers and puncheurs. It’s the first chance to see who’ll be in the mix in terms of GC.

Scenario – uphill sprint which will see some time gaps.

The first of the new stages, with an uphill finish to Jabal Haat. The climb is 4.2km at 7.3% and ends with a very steep final 1.6km. Unlike previous editions, this will give a clear indication of who’s going to be fighting for the win on the green mountain.

Scenario – the first GC day.

Another new stage, this one finishes in the wonderfully named, Yitti Hills. There are two little lumps in the final 15km which will test the pure sprinters. 

Scenario – reduced sprint.

The final stage and a return to green mountain. The climb is 5.6% at 10.1% and is a proper test at this time of the year. Will Jan Hirt be able to take another win?

Scenario – GC day.


Bora – three potential GC options: Buchmann, Aleotti and Uijtdebroeks. Technically speaking, Buchmann should be their best option, but the youngsters could best him. After finishing 4th in the 2019 Tour de France, Buchmann’s career didn’t kick on as I expected, but last year hinted at a return to his best. He should be their main man, with the youngsters as back up if things don’t go according to plan.

Jan Hirt – he smashed everyone last year, winning on the green mountain by 39 seconds. This year he returns with his new team, and he’s already got San Juan in his legs. It will be interesting to see what his level is like, last year he came here off the back of an early block of altitude training. Given what happened in 2022, he’ll start as the favourite. 

Alexey Lutsenko – the winner here in 2018 and 2019, the green mountain is a climb that he likes. Last year, he grew into the Tour de France, by the final week he was flying and ended up 8th on GC. This year he’s spoken about not wanting to ride for GC in France, he’s going to go for stages and wants to win in the classics. I would expect him to start the season in good form, especially given his track record at this race. 

Davide Formolo – performed well in the Saudi Tour and will come here full of confidence. Leadership opportunities are rare for him with UAE, he’ll be riding as a domestique for most of the season, he’ll be keen on taking this chance to impress. He goes well on steep climbs; I still remember his Giro stage win all the way back in 2015.

Louis Meintjes – started the season in Mallorca, but wasn’t too keen on the weather, this will be much more his style. He won’t be at his best yet, but the same could be said for most of the contenders in the race. The green mountain is a climb that suits him well, he should be challenging for the win.

Cristián Rodríguez – solid top 10 option.

Maxim Van Gils – after winning last year’s Saudi Tour, he didn’t do much in the rest of the season. That race showed that he copes very well with steep climbs, so the green mountain should be right up his street. 

Iván Sosa – “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get”, Iván Sosa is the cycling epitome of this famous line from Forrest Gump. On his day, he’s easily one of the top climbers in the world, but not even he knows when those days are going to come. He ended last season in fine form, winning the Queen stage and GC in Langkawi. It’s contract year for the Colombian, it wouldn’t hurt to have a good start.

Matteo Jorgenson – always starts the season well, and even though he’s not a climber, he can surprise in races like this. Matteo had an outstanding Tour de France, he reached a level I was in awe of. This season we’ll see him get even stronger and winning this type of race is well within his capabilities. I expect him to take his first pro win at some point this week.

Prediction Time

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I’ll take a third title for Alexey Lutsenko.