Estonian climber Rein Taaramäe, who wrote history for Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux several times in 2021, extended his contract with the Belgian World Team until the end of 2023. The stage winner of the latest Tour of Spain became the first rider of the team to wear the leader’s jersey in a Grand Tour. In June, he was already the first rider of the team to win the national title in the time trial discipline.
At the age of 34, Taaramäe will start his second season with the team of Jean-François Bourlart, his fifteenth as a professional rider, in the Tour of Oman (2.Pro, 10-15/02). After two years of absence, the event in the sultanate of the Middle East returns on the calendar with a six day race.
The sprinters have three opportunities to battle for the stage win, in the first stage towards capital Muscat, in the second one towards former capital Sohar and in the closing stage finishing in Matrah. Next to the crosswinds, differences in the individual classification can be made on the explosive final in Qurayyat (2.8km at 6.5%) on day three, in the hilly fourth stage with three repetitions of the Boushar Al Amerat (4km at 6.6%) and in the queen stage towards the Jabal Al Akhdar (Green Mountain) (6km at 9.9%) the next day.
Just like Taaramäe, Jan Hirt will start his 2022 season with a second participation in the Tour of Oman. Belgian riders Tom Devriendt and Kévin Van Melsen, Danish rider Julius Johansen and Frenchman Hugo Page complete the line up under the direction of Valerio Piva.
Tour of Oman:
Stage 1 (10/02): Al Rustaq – Oman Exhibition & Convention Center (138,1 km)
Stage 2 (11/02): Naseem Garden – Sohar Corniche (167,3 km)
Stage 3 (12/02): Sultan Qaboos University – Qurayyat (180,1 km)
Stage 4 (13/02): Al Sifah – Muscat Royal Opera (119,3 km)
Stage 5 (14/02): Sama’il – Jabal Al Akhdhar (154,2 km)
Stage 6 (15/02): Al Mouj – Matrah Corniche (132,3 km)