2023 Tour of Oman Stage 1

Al Rustaq Fort > Oman Convention & Exhibition centre 147.4km

The first stage of the Tour of Oman is one for the sprinters, and it’s the same finish as last year. The final 5km isn’t the exact same, but we have the same final turn and rise to the line. Cavendish was 2nd here in 2022, can he go one better for his new team in 2023?


Temperatures will hit 26 degrees and there’s going to be lots of sun.


The run for home is all about two right-hand corners, they come with 3.5km and 1km to go. The battle for the final corner will be fierce, those too far back won’t stand a chance. Last year, UAE got perfect position and Gaviria took the win, it really is very important to lead into that final bend.


No fancy tactics required, it’s all about the final corner with 1km to go. The approach road is wide, which can often make things harder for the sprint trains. You need a well-timed charge to the front and hold it for the corner, I’d want my sprinter to be in the first 5 wheels at the turn.


Mark Cavendish – first race for Astana, we’ll see what type of winter he’s had. Cavendish knows the finish from last year, but it can take a while to gel with new riders. He’ll have Laas as his final man, and I would expect to see Fedorov help with positioning in the final kilometres. This isn’t a great sprint train; Cav will need to use all his skill to get a good position for the final kilometre. 

Tim Merlier – first race for QuickStep, but he has Bert Van Lerberghe as his final man, a rider he knows inside and out. James Knox had to withdraw from the squad a couple of days ago, it was interesting to see him replaced by Jordi Warlop, a rider to bolster the sprint train. The Belgian was part of the B&B squad that went bust, and he’s officially joined the QuickStep Devo team, but he’ll mainly ride for the pro squad. The three Belgians will form a strong sprint train for a race like this.

Pascal Ackermann – third in the final stage of the Saudi Tour will have given him a confidence boost, but he knows he can do better. Illness ruined his chances in that race, but he should feel the benefit of the race in his legs, and he’ll hope to take his first win of the season here. The German will have Gibbons as his final man, he’ll hope to start the sprint from a good spot.

Matt Walls – has the track smarts to make up for not having much of a sprint train but is likely to hit the final corner too far back to contest the win, but the podium is possible.

David Dekker – another sprinter without much of a sprint train. I’m a big fan of David’s, I’m hoping he can show himself in this stage.

Max Kanter – walked away from the Saudi Tour with three 5th places. He’ll have Mathias Norsgaard to help him in the closing kilometres, but he could be destined for yet another 5th place.

Alexander Salby – I like this guy. He caught my attention in last year’s ZLM Tour, where he mixed it with some of the best and impressed. He got his first win for Bingoal in the Bongo, he’ll be hoping to challenge for the podium in this stage.

Prediction Time

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First race for QuickStep and a first win for Tim Merlier.