2023 Tour of Oman Stage 3 Preview

Al Khobar > Jabal Haat 154.8km

Hold onto your hats, there’s a new finish to get your teeth into. Pan flat all day, then a tough uphill finish. This is much harder than today, we’ll start to see who’ll be the main contenders for the overall title.


Hot, sunny, not much wind.


The worst of the climb is around 900m at 14%, this finishes with about 500m to go, then it gets “easier”, and the final stretch is around 7%. The above image doesn’t show the final 500m, but it does give the best impression of the real gradients, which can sometimes be difficult in this part of the world.


Cofidis are now in the race lead after Herrada’s brilliant win today, and this is another stage where he’ll fancy his chances. Not only do Cofidis have Herrada in the overall lead, but they have Remi Rochas sitting just outside the top 10, this gives them a couple of cards to play. This climb is much harder than today’s there won’t be many riders left in contention once we finish the really steep section.

This is the point where we’ll see the best come to the front. Look at today’s top 6, most of them should be there, but we’ll also see the pure climbers in the mix. Some teams have multiple options to play, but clever tactics don’t usually work on double-digit gradients. When someone launches a big attack, we’ll soon see who has the legs to follow. 


Jesús Herrada – this isn’t going to be easy for him. Not only is he in the race lead, but the climb looks on his limit if you ask me. When the attacks start to roll, he’ll be expected to cover, but he did have great legs today. I’ll go and make one of my bold statements, the climb is too hard for him.

Maxim Van Gils – an excellent 2nd place today, and the steep slopes of this climb suit him better than today. Last year, he was brilliant in the Saudi Tour, when the gradient went up to 20%. He showed today that his current form is good, he’ll approach this stage with confidence knowing it suits him better than today.

Diego Ulissi – too hard for him to win.

Matteo Jorgenson – he was very strong today but lost some momentum as he got blocked in by a fading Lutsenko. 4th place was still a decent result, but I think he can do better in this stage. The problem is the long section at almost 14%, we’ll have to see how he reacts to the moves from the lighter riders. 

Alexey Lutsenko – I was surprised to see him fade today, but he still made the front split and took a few seconds to some of his GC rivals. I would expect him to prefer this climb, he normally goes very well when the gradient is above 10%. Some might write him off after today, I won’t be one of them.

Davide Formolo – the first of the climbers who’ll be in the mix for the win. Formolo was strong on the steep climb in the Saudi Tour, he’ll be one of the best in this stage. I expect him to be UAE’s best option, it suits him more than Ulissi. 

Emanuel Buchmann – finished well today, he’ll be happy with that result knowing this stage is better for him. Buchmann only has four wins as a pro, his last was back in 2020, this is a chance for him to get back to winning ways.

Louis Meintjes – I still don’t think this is a perfect climb for him, he would prefer it to be longer, but he should be in the mix for the top 5. 

Jan Hirt – 23rd today, which makes him the worst of those I’ve already mentioned, but he finished on the same time as Formolo and the other climbers. Hirt normally goes well when the gradient goes above 10%, he’ll be confident of challenging for the win.

Prediction Time

Embed from Getty Images

I’ll roll the dice and go for Maxim Van Gils, he loves the steep stuff.