HE Sultan Hamdoon Al Harthi with Eddy Merckx & Omani children / Tour of Oman 2011© PresseSports - Lablatiniere
I would like to welcome you all to the third edition of the Tour of Oman. Our objective three years ago was to create a new world class platform and pre-season training ground for competitive cycling and it is with great delight that we embrace the return of the World’s elite and watch as they once again take on the challenge of our dramatic landscape.
Our vision is for cycling to make a real contribution to social and economic progress within Oman. You all play a crucial role in this vision and this year, in particular, has special significance for us. Dedicated the 'Year of the Child' by our Council of Ministers, we want to ensure the sport of cycling and the professionalism, determination and hard work showcased during each Tour of Oman provides inspiration for our youth to succeed and follow their dreams. With nearly 50% of our population between the ages of 10 and 25 years old, with 40% under the age of 15 years, our future is in their hands and we must provide the examples for them to follow.
The powerful combination of our Muscat cultural and heritage festival with the Tour of Oman has also created an ideal platform to showcase our rich traditions and historical identity. Last year alone, the global reach of the Tour of Oman was in excess of 180 countries. We have further been honoured with Muscat being named the 2012 Capital of Arab Tourism as well as being voted the second best city in the world to visit by Lonely Planet, with only the Olympic Games host city of London ahead of us.
The Tour of Oman is now more than just a memorable event. It has become a tool to promote the potential of our country, but more importantly, it inspires us all to achieve beyond our boundaries, to take more exercise and create the conditions to enable the development of our own future Omani cycling champions.
I wish all the teams and riders the best of luck, a healthy and competitive race and I hope you all enjoy the hospitality and warmth of our country.
His Excellency Sultan Hamdoon Al Harthi
Head of Muscat Municipality and Head of the Tour of Oman organising committee