Muscat, The Middle East’s first ever Haute Route
event finished with a flourish in Misfat Al Abriyinn in the Wilayat of Al
Hamra in the Governorate of A’Dakhiliyah today as a large field of
international cyclists completed their three-day adventure in Oman.
After two days and more than 200 kilometres of challenging riding �
which included long and daunting road climbs up both Jebel Akhdar in
the Wilayat of Nizwa and Jebel Haat in the Wilayat of Al Hamra � the
amateur riders taking part in Haute Route Oman took on a deceptively
short 9.4km time trial finale.
Setting out from Al Hamra in still conditions, a stark contrast to
the testing winds the field faced on the mountain courses, riders made
a fast start on flat rolling roads from the ancient town. Then came the
sting in the tail, a relentless series of steep switchbacks and climbs as
the course ascended towards the finish in Misfat. The day was won by
Australia’s Adrian White, who clawed back time on the overall leader
Guillaume Bourgeois, but not enough to deny the Swiss rider the
Haute Route Oman title.
Following almost six hours of determined riding, Bourgeois
finished only 1 minute and 27 seconds ahead of White, with Thomas
Berger of the Netherlands completing the podium places. I am very
happy, said Bourgeois. It is always difficult after the first day when
you control the race to continue to manage it for the two following
So Saturday went well and I was able to control those following me,
and I knew today was quite a short race time so it would be difficult to
close a big gap, so I was pretty confident and very happy with the
The women’s race was a clearer cut affair, with British cyclist
Helen Sharp winning all three stages to finish more than 20 minutes
clear of China’s Stella Chen He, with the Netherlands’ Lispeth Gruppen
taking third. It’s been epic, absolutely amazing, said Sharp. Tough,
but it always is with a Haute Route, that’s what you expect, it is what it
is supposed to be. Great people, great scenery, a great country and
sunshine, just awesome.
Speaking immediately after the demanding final section she
added: That was the most horrific 9k hill climb of my life, probably, it
was super-tough. It was tough, really tough. But it’s day three, it’s
finished and the holiday begins from now.
Local rider Hatim al-Booshri was the leading Omani competitor in
16th place, just two ahead of Shibab al-Qamshouai. Meanwhile 2009 FI
world champion Jenson Button, a keen cyclist and co-founder of the
Leger cycle clothing brand who were official event partners, came
home to take 30th place after a memorable three days.
The 200 riders returned to the Haute Route Oman base in Nizwa
for the closing ceremony, which is under the patronage Shiekh Rashid
bin Said al-Kalbani, Wali of Nizwa.
Haute Route Oman is part of the national sports tourism strategy
that aims to increase inbound tourism through sports and promote
Oman as a tourism destination under the supervision of the Ministry of
Tourism and the Tanfeedh’s Implementation Support and Follow-up
Source: Oman News Agency