Six stages, 888 kilometres of racing and a plethora of opportunities to gaze in awe at the historical, cultural and natural treasures of the Sultanate of Oman. Ten editions of the Tour of Oman have been nowhere near enough to explore every nook and cranny of this vast land with its remote deserts, rugged mountains, pristine beaches and, especially, its unique and welcoming culture. A late addition to the UCI’s 2022 calendar, the Tour of Oman will take place from Thursday 10th to Tuesday 15 February. Following two years of cancellations, this will be the first time the race has been held since 2019.
The must-see landmarks of the 2022 Tour of Oman:
- The capital, Muscat, one of the oldest cities on the Arabian Gulf
- Jabal al-Akhdar, aka “Green Mountain”, and its hanging oases
- The Al-Hajar Mountains, in the northern part of the Sultanate
- Nizwa and its fort, one of the most awe-inspiring on the Arabian Peninsula
- The Bahla and Nakhal forts, the first of which is one of Oman’s five UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- The Royal Opera House Muscat
- Muttrah Corniche and its souk, on the seafront of the warm Sea of Oman
- Wadi an-Nakhar, the ‘Grand Canyon of Oman’ at the base of Jabal Shams, the highest peak in the country
From deep-carved canyons to sprawling sand deserts to lush wadis, its rich tapestry of landscapes is the first surprise that the Sultanate of Oman has in store. Washed by the Arabian Sea, this ancient crossroads of the Silk Road and the incense trade routes also boasts a fascinating heritage and historical treasures. The Sultanate of Oman is a kaleidoscopic destination, as the riders will see for themselves as soon as the inaugural stage of the eleventh edition rolls around on Thursday 10 February.
From Al Rustaq Fort, renowned as the highest castle in the country and surrounded by a luxuriant natural environment, the 126-strong peloton of the eleventh edition (made up of 18 teams) will head to the Omani coast and the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre, instantly recognisable thanks to its rotunda shape and rose petal-inspired dome.
The riders will discover Naseem Park at the start of stage 2 and stick to the coast throughout the whole stage, which will be decided in Sohar Port.
After that, the unprecedented start of stage 3 will take place in front of the majestic Sultan Qaboos University, the first and most important university in the Sultanate of Oman, named for Qaboos bin Said Al Said. The finish line will be in Qurayyat, 85 km from Muscat. This small fishing town is well worth a visit for its atmosphere, delightful sandy beach and 19th-century fort. Stage 4 will depart from Al Sifah for the Royal Opera House Muscat, inaugurated in 2011 by the great Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo.
Four out of the six stages that make up the 2022 Tour of Oman will take place near the capital.
Shortly after will come the traditional finish on Muttrah Corniche, a real burst of colour with the deep blue of the Sea of Oman, the exuberance of the historical souk of the city and jaw-dropping flowerbeds. On the eve of the spectacular finale, the climb up Jabal al-Akhdar will offer an exceptional panorama of the mountains, valleys and terraced farms amid the rose bushes and fruit trees in bloom on the heights of the Al Hajar Mountains. Indeed, the greatest surprise for visitors to Oman is the unexpected diversity of its landscapes.
At over half the size of France (more than 309,000 km²), the Sultanate of Oman has a 3,165 km coastline on the Sea of Oman and the Arabian Sea, a small stretch of which will get a visit from the Tour of Oman. To date, the peloton has yet to venture into the centre and south of the country, but some of the highlights include:
The “Mountain of the Sun” is the highest peak in the country. It is also the base camp for exploring the “Grand Canyon” of Wadi an-Nakhar, one of the most dramatic natural sites in the country.
The Sharqiya Sands desert
Heading inland, the desert undergoes a tone shift from white to red ochre as the tall dunes of the Sharqiyah Sands emerge from the vast expanse.
Dhofar (southern Oman)
The southernmost governorate of Oman, blessed with the rains of the summer monsoon, stands in stark contrast with the rest of the country. Its peaks are decked in green pastures from June to September, while Salalah basks in its tropical climate.
The “Land of Frankincense” UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Frankincense, a resin obtained from Boswellia sacra, a tree native to Oman, was one of the most widely traded products in the ancient and medieval worlds. UNESCO has listed four sites: the frankincense trees of Wadi Dawkah, the remains of the caravan oasis of Shisr (Wubar) and those of the ports of Khor Rori (the Samhuram of old) and Al-Baleed. These places hold the most interesting archaeological vestiges in the Sultanate.
Lying about 18 kilometres off the coast from Barka, the nine islands that make up the Daymaniat Islands offer world-class snorkelling and scuba diving. Visitors to the coastal waters of Oman may also be lucky enough to spot Arabian humpback whales, the only non-migratory population of humpbacks in the world.
More information about 2022 Tour of Oman here