The opening stage of 2016’s Tour of Oman should prove to be a lively finish once again, avoiding the lazy cliché of these early Middle Eastern stage races being dull from start to finish. This 145.5km stage’s finale has featured previously in Oman’s schedule and has so far proven to be a difficult outcome to forecast, failing to favour a specific type of rider each year. A tailwind should reduce the chances of the pure sprinters contesting the win, so all eyes are bound to be upon a potent mix of puncheurs and strong classics riders.
BMC are eager to compete for the win here in Oman and Greg Van Avermaet should be first in line to the lead charge for the American-Swiss outfit in pursuit of the first leader’s jersey. The Belgian was very lively in Qatar, clearly entering this race in strong condition ahead of a tilt at the overall win. Edvald Boasson Hagen shall be a strong adversary though, possessing the sort of skills which make him a danger to Avermaet’s ambitions, the Norwegian being strong enough to force a move late on or dominate a reduced sprint if required. One outside bet worth keeping an eye upon is Gianluca Brambilla, this type of finish suits him nicely and his early season form has been encouraging thus far in 2016.
1st Greg Van Avermaet 2nd Edvald Boasson Hagen 3rd Gianluca Brambilla