BMC Racing returns to defend Tour of Oman title

Defending champions BMC Racing are among the 18 teams that have been named for next month’s Tour of Oman. A total of nine WorldTour teams have been selected for the 2.HC race. The other WorldTour teams are Astana, Bahrain-Merida, Dimension Data, Quick-Step Floors, Katusha-Alpecin, Team Sunweb, UAE Team Emirates and Trek-Segafredo. The selection is much the same as it was last season with Trek-Segafredo replacing AG2R La Mondiale in the line-up. The remaining nine spots have been filled by Professional Continental teams with Rally Cycling taking advantage of their new status to make their debut at the Middle Eastern race.ADVERTISEMENT Fledgling French team Vital Concept also make their race debut as to the Spanish outfit Caja Rural-Seguros RGA. Fortuneo-Samsic and Roompot Oranje return after missing last year’s race, while Cofidis come back following a two-year break. Aqua Blue Sport, Wanty-Groupe Gobert and Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise are the only three Professional Continental teams to return for the 2018 edition. The race is organised by ASO of France but Eddy Merckx is no longer involved after a dispute with the Tour de France organiser. Last year’s Tour of Oman winner Ben Hermans will not be back to defend his title after he left BMC Racing over the winter and signed for Israel Cycling Academy. Hermans took the overall victory last season after winning the queen stage to Green Mountain, ahead of Fabio Aru and Rui Costa, who would eventually finish second on the podium.
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