The battles on Northern Europe’s cobblestone roads are nonetheless months away, alternatively the built-up for the Excursion of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, and different one-day races starts in earnest this coming week on the Excursion of Oman, February 16-21.

The race represents a the most important block of racing around the windy, flat roads within the barren region for the game’s stars of the cobbled classics. The race’s lineup comprises Greg van Avermaet (CCC), Nikki Terpstra (Direct Energie), Silvan Dillier and Olivier Naesen (each Ag2r Los angeles Mondiale), Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), and Andre Greipel (Arkea Samsic), amongst others. Noticeably absent, alternatively, is group Deceuninck-Fast Step.

“It’s a pleasing solution to building up for the season, I love the best way lots of the levels are ready for punchy riders,” Van Avermaet stated. “So I will be able to get further coaching in addition to race, there are no less than 3 levels, occasionally 4, that have the type of terrain that fits me.”

This yr’s Excursion of Oman is once more constituted of a mix of flat and hilly levels, with the summit end to Inexperienced Mountain offering a check for climbers at the penultimate degree. Closing yr Miguel Angel Lopez took the degree win and the total victory at the slopes of the punchy slope after his Astana group shed all the box on the base of the climb.

Van Avermaet and the opposite classics contenders are not going to problem for the victory on Inexperienced Mountain, with the 2019 lineup additionally together with climbers like Darwin Atapuma (Cofidis) and Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida). The opposite levels, alternatively, give you the flatlanders abundant alternative to check their legs on flat and punchy terrain.

The race’s 2d degree, from Royal Cavalry Oman to Al Bustan, comprises 3 climbs that reasonable just about 9 %. The 3rd degree to Quarayyat finishes with a 3km climb. And the fourth degree from Yiti to the Oman Conference and Exhibition Heart comprises 3 ascents of the Al Jabal Boulevard, a three.2km climb that has ramps above 8 %.

“A large number of classics riders use it like that. In my case, on a few editions I used to be running for a GC rider there, so I’d get him to the ground of the climb, then I’d move laborious up it for one or two kilometers anyway, after which take a few mins to get well,” Van Avermaet stated. “Then I’d pick out up the tempo, simply to do a type of check within the race, to peer how just right you’re and the way deep you’ll move.”

The 2019 version marks the 10th operating of the Excursion of Oman. Norwegian Alexander Kristoff (UAE Workforce Emirates) has probably the most degree wins on the race, with 8. Kristoff, a former winner of Flanders and Milano-Sanremo, will attend the 2019 race.

Van Avermaet took his first Oman degree victory remaining season. He stated he hopes so as to add to his tally this yr. Simply remaining week Van Avermaet took a very powerful first victory dressed in the orange colours of his CCC professional biking group on the Volta a Comunitat Valenciana.

“With a brand new group like CCC it’s much more necessary to take a look at and get the wins so you’ll building up the group’s self-confidence,” Van Avermaet stated. “And the degree win I were given in Valencia was once in opposition to a robust box and on an excessively tough day’s racing. So most of these effects are crucial to get early within the season. However let’s hope we attempt to get a degree win in each and every degree race, make a addiction of it, and that’s crucial factor for me, to have positive days in races like this the place I will be able to be just right.”

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