The fifth edition of Oman’s Trans Hajar Mountain Bike multi-day stage race kicked off today with an Individual Time Trial in the breath-taking surroundings of Jebel Shams, Arabia’s highest peak (3,028 metres). Leading the pack by 1 minute 40 seconds in the Male Open Category is South African 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic hopeful, James Reid, and in the Open Female Category Hungary’s Eszter Doza has a 2 minute lead over her nearest rival, last year’s winner Hannele Steyn (RSA).
Having recently joined Team RECM and making his Trans Hajar debut, James Reid is already enjoying this new challenge,
“We have similar terrain to Oman in South Africa, but this is quite different in many ways as well.
“The race has already been a lot of fun – you’re always exploring and finding new routes. You can see the organisers have really thought about it and I’ve heard they have a whole line up for the rest of the week. Today was hard and a nice way to open the racing. It’s always hard when there’s a tar road climb especially when there are two laps.
“I’m really looking forward to the rest of the week – I think it is going to be an exciting couple of days and a completely new experience for someone from Africa”.
With fresh legs, competitors pushed themselves to the limit completing two laps of a rocky 21km loop around the ‘Sint Bowl’, a 1,000m high plateau between Jebel Kwar and Jebel Shams, before descending a fast single-track section and climbing back to the camp to finish. Dry conditions made for some dusty racing in temperatures of 27 degrees Celsius.
Open Male Classification – top ten results
1. James Reid (RSA) 1:25:52
2. Jason Bryan (IRL) 1:27.32
3. Andrew Hill (RSA) 1:27.38
4. Max Knox (RSA) 1:27.39
5. Kevin Evans (RSA) 1:27.39
6. Craig Boyes (RSA) 1:28.20
7. Lucian Logigan (ROM) 1:30.38
8. Tudor Oprea (ROM) 1:30.47
9. Renay Groustra (RSA) 1:30.58
10. Matthew Page (GBR) 1.39.56
Open Female Classification – top five results
1. Eszter Dosa (HUN) 1:43.47
2. Hannele Steyn (RSA) 1:45.52
3. Catherine Williamson (GBR) 1:49.38
4. Michelle Guerin (NZL) 2:17.46
5. Anna Blanton (USA) 2:28.50
Tomorrow’s racing will see the 74-strong international field of pro and amateur riders tackle the longest and toughest stage of this all-new 400-kilometre endurance race – a gruelling 127 kilometres! The route winds its way across the highest mountain pass in Oman giving competitors a stunning snapshot of this uniquely beautiful country.
More details are on www.transhajar.com