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Oman’s Green Mountain Looms Large

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Feb 15, 2016 – The 7th edition of the Tour of Oman will feature an impressive line-up of riders: a former World Champion, a winner of all three Grand Tours and classics specialists that have been often crowned in Spring. Men that will be battling it out during six tough stages of racing including the climb up terrible Green Mountain. We had a chat with the main contenders for victory on the event.

A.S.O./Kåre Dehlie Thorstad

Vincenzo NIBALI (Astana) :
I’m happy to see that the temperature here is great and fresher than last year. We come here with a good group of riders. The Green Mountain stage will certainly be the most important one and with an extra two kilometers of climbing it’ll be even more decisive. I wanted to follow the same race program than in the previous years. Coming to Oman has always worked out well for me. I don’t want to change something that works out.
Every year I try to change my goals to avoid falling in a routine. For the last two years, the Tour de France was my main goal but after being absent these last two years, I had to return to the Giro, for the tifosi and also because it’s an amazing race.
Concerning the Tour it all depends on how the season goes and on how hard the two grand tours are. If the Giro is very hard, it is indeed hard to compete on the Tour de France because you don’t have a lot of time to recover. I just want to focus on the Giro and on the Olympics, so maybe I’ll use the Tour de France as a preparation for Rio. At Astana, we have two leaders: Aru and myself, so it’s logical to divide the objectives in two.

Tom DUMOULINS (Giant Alpecin):
It’s always nice to have a positive and good start but it isn’t the end of the world if it’s a little bit disappointing. I showed in the past that I could fight back after disappointments. It’s going to be hard. There looks to be just one sprinters stage and for the rest there are always tricky moments and some climbs. Two uphill finishes is more than the other years. That’s only better for me. I’m not here to sprint.

My main goal this year is the Olympics. The season will be turned around that goal. I will start the Giro with expectations on the time-trials rather than the GC. It’s going to be a time-trial year for me. After the Vuelta, you would have thought that I could go for the GC in the grand tours. We decided to postpone that for one year and to keep focusing on time-trials. The Olympics is the only reason for that. The Olympics are only once every four years. And it’s not that often that I find a time-trial course that suits me so well. Maybe my next chance will never come and that’s why I really want to focus on the Games.

Richie PORTE (BMC):
It’s all about being relaxed in january for me this year. Although I didn’t work as hard as last year, I still came away with a good result at the Tour DownUnder. My new coach, David Bailey, just asked me to ride my bike and enjoy it while I was in Tasmania. It’s what I’ve been doing but anybody who’s been in Tasmania knows how tough the riding is. You get a benefit there just by riding your bike and doing the basic kilometers.
Being at BMC gives me a little bit more pressure. I’ve never been able to target the Tour de France in July so it’s also quite exciting. When you go to a team and become co-leader with Teejay (Van Garderen) it’s not like being at Sky where Chris Froome is the only leader. It’s just a little bit more relaxed at this time of the year. You’re more focused on July.
Here, Greg Van Avermaet is going to try and win a stage. I’m not so sure about me. Obviously I’ve done Green Mountain before. I know how hard it is. I’d like to take my chances on that. Concerning GC, I’m not sure.

Romain BARDET (AG2R La Mondiale):
This year there are top guys like Richie (Porte) who was pretty good in January and also Nibali and the others. It’s going to be a hard race. Green Mountain is going to be pretty tough. There are close to two extra kilometres. We’ll have more than 7 kilometres of climbing. It’ll be very hard for February. I just hope to come out of Oman in a better shape. My level in training was good but racing is something else. I will try to improve stage by stage and why not go for the GC.

Dan MARTIN (ETIXX QUICKSTEP) :
I’d like to win a stage here to continue doing well. I’ve won a stage in Valencia and would like to win again here. We have a great team here but it’s really hot. The heat is going to be a factor for sure. It’s a beautiful course and I’m really excited to discover the country. I think I’m a little bit limited for Green Mountain. We’ll see. There are so many other options.

Media coverage of the Tour of Oman
The 7th edition of the Tour of Oman will be increasingly broadcasted around the World. This year, a 26min highlights program will be available on the evening of the race and will be broadcasted on five continents. The highlights added to the news coverage of the race will be seen in 189 territories. While Eurosport continues its extensive coverage in Europe, new channels join the race such as Bein Sports for the Middle East and North Africa, Rai Sports in Italy, ESPN in Latin America.

Add to that, extensive live coverage will be available on the @tourofoman twitter account as well as the Instagram and Facebook pages.