Muscat Classic 2023

A completely new one-day race in Oman. I like the idea of doing a hilly one-day race before starting a short stage race. It will also give us fans a good indication of what to expect from the riders in Tour of Oman.

The route

The first 80 km are flat. Then, the first test. 3.6 km at 8.7%. Surely, one of the stronger teams want to thin out the bunch a bit. It comes straight out of a right turn, so I think we can expect a small bunch sprint to get unto the climb first.

After the climb, the riders have 26 km of flat before the make their way on to the circuit. They do this circuit 1.5 times. I would argue the finale starts with 49 km to go.

The riders ascent the hardest hill of the day. They do this again just before the finish. The hardest part is 1.5 km at 10.3%. If you include the dip and counterhill, the whole climb is 2.6 km at 6.3%.

After the descent, the riders must tackle another kicker. The main favorites will make the difference on one or the theother.

Another long flat section until the riders have approximately 24 km left of the race. Then, a tough kicker again.

A long way again to the next climb, before they take on the Qantab Road Climb (the first one I talked about). If the winner has not been found, a short descent and a km of flat before a sprint.


It is hot in Oman, but it is one of the coldest months in the country. Around 28 degrees C and plenty of wind too, all the way up to 6 m/s. It will blow from the NW. This means some of the circuit will have a tailwind, some will have a headwind.


Lutsenko – Mr. Oman starts his season here. It is a brilliant race for him, he is very good on steep climbs despite his stature. I am expecting him to start the season out in good form, he usually does. He will be one of the favorites.

Giovanni Aleotti – it will be my pick for Bora-Hansgrohe. The Italian looked fairly good in Down Under, and he started getting results for himself in late 2022. The Bora-Hansgrohe team is one of the strongest for the stage having multiple options with Buchmann, Schelling and Uijtdebroeks too.

Jesus Herrada – not as good as expected at the Mallorca races. Usually, he is fairly good early in the season. This is another one-day race that suits him. He can also manage the short, steep climbs.

Axel Zingle – Cofidis option #2. There is no reason to hide it, I am starting to become a big fan of Zingle. His worst result this year is 12th, if you do not count the DNS. I am uncertain if the climbs are on his limit, but his current form can carry him a long way.

Ulissi – he did very well in Valencianna, usually he would not be as competitive with those climbing meters. That surely means the legs are good. He is also a difficult rider to beat, if they get to the line with him.

Formolo – UAE option #2. Did well in Saudi Tour. He and Ulissi pose the strongest duo by a landslide. If they manage to work together, they will be difficult to beat.

Vansevenant – he usually disappoints more than he impress. On paper, it suits him very well. He has a strong team too, with Hirt and Masnada as options too.

Maxim van Gils – started off the season well last year, and he did that in the Middle East on steep ramps. We will have to see, if he once more pulls a surprise.

Jorgensen – with the wind blowing, I am opting away from Sosa. Jorgensen or Verona will get a good result, but the route is not perfect for them. I expect one in the top-10.

Who will win?

Despite UAE only having six riders at the start, and at least two of them being dropped after the first kicker, I expect both of them two be at the front, when the favorites for the win stage moving. I will take a win for Diego Ulissi. Steep ramps, heat and a potential sprint amongst the favorites are the reasons.

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