Czech rider speaks of his continued close relationship with the Tour of Oman.

In 2022, Jan Hirt won the stage to Jabal Al Akhdhar as well as taking the overall victory in the Middle East race. He followed that up with a second place on the final stage of this year’s race, which again climbed the now famous Green Mountain, and this was also enough to give him second place in the overall general classification.

Reflecting on the race, the softly spoken Czech rider said: “I wanted to start the new season well. I knew that I would race Oman, so I said in December that if I would go to Oman then I would like to start the season in good shape and try to win.”

“It is a race that I like, especially the Green Mountain. It is a climb that suits me with the steep part at the end. If you are in good shape, it’s a great race to start the season, where climbers can show their form. Some of the stages were shortened this year because of the weather, which wasn’t great for me, but it let me focus on the final stage.”

Hirt was not the only Soudal Quick-Step rider to get a good result at this year’s race, with Paul Magnier taking victory on stage three, and Luke Lamperti twice finishing second, and Jan has been impressed by the young riders that have joined the team this winter.

“They are amazing, and we are lucky to have them on the team. Paul has done three races as a neo-pro and he already has two wins! Luke is still waiting for his first win but every time he is getting closer and closer. They are really strong and will have great futures.”

To prepare for Oman, Hirt spent some time training in Colombia, where he has enjoyed several winters. “It is a place where I can train at altitude but in winter it is guaranteed good weather, unlike in Europe at that time of year. The terrain is also more varied there, with some flat roads at altitude, when in Europe there is only climbing, and this is better for training combinations.”

Following Oman, Hirt will stay in the Middle East for the UAE Tour, which he is also looking forward to. “We will have Tim Merlier with us, and our big objective will be to win stages with him. And we have Ilan, who is also in good shape, plus a TT, so we will see if we can make a good result for the team.”


Photo credit: ©Wout Beel

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14/02/2024 - Race report