British cyclist sets new world record in Oman as 2018 Tour gets underway

British cyclist Jonathan Shubert is raising money for Lifting Hands International

British endurance cyclist Jonathan Shubert has set a new world record after successfully completing a 1,300km ride across Oman in less than 48 hours.

Shubert, who works in Oman as a science teacher, rode across the finish line in Salalah this morning, 1 day, 23 hours and 21 minutes after leaving Muscat. In achieving the feat, he smashed the previous record of six days.

As well as dealing with the physical challenge of the distance to be covered, he was forced to contend with numerous other obstacles ranging from strong winds and high temperatures, to speeding traffic and stationary camels on the road.

The Brit is no stranger to long-distance challenges. Between March 2013 and March 2014 he completed a 30,000km journey around the world, passing through 29 countries. Just three weeks later he became the 2014 British 24-hour time trial champion by covering a distance of 835km in a single day.

Speaking to adventure travel website ahead of this latest challenge, Shubert said on completion he expected to be incapable of walking, eating or sleeping for 24 hours or so, before recuperating by lying on a beach with a book.

The ride has already succeeded in raising thousands of pounds for Shubert’s chosen charity, Lifting Hands International. According to the rider’s JustGiving page, the money will be used to support Iraq’s Yazidi population, initially through the provision of solar-powered lighting.

Tour of Oman 2018

British road racing cyclist Mark Cavendish lined up with more than 100 other competitors this morning for the opening stage of the 2018 Tour of Oman.

Riders from 18 teams, representing 28 nationalities, converged on the start line for the first stage of the event covering 162.5km between Nizwa and Sultan Qaboos University.

France’s Bryan Coquard came out on top, with the Vital Concept sprinter claiming victory ahead of Mark Cavendish of Dimension Data in second.

Cavendish sealed his first win of 2018 last week, taking the third stage of the Dubai Tour. According to a report by Cycling News, Cavendish was a last-minute addition to the Dimension Data team’s Oman squad. He was originally scheduled to return to the UK following the Dubai Tour, before returning to the Middle East for the Abu Dhabi Tour, which gets underway on February 21.

Speaking ahead of the race, Cavendish said: “I don’t necessarily have big expectations, we’re coming here with climbers rather than the sprinting team.”

Yesterday, riders were officially welcomed to the Sultanate by a delegation of officials that included the Chairman of Muscat Municipality, Moshin bin Mohammed bin Ali Al Shaikh; the Minister of Tourism, Ahmed Nasser Al Mahrazi; the undersecretary at Ministry of Information, Ali bin Khalfan Al Jabri; and Director-General of Operations of the Royal Oman Police, Abdullah Mohammed Al Hosani.

Race director Franck Perque took the opportunity during a press conference on Monday to highlight the varied nature of the event.

He said: “With stages designed for sprinters, others for punchers and the famous Green Mountain, everyone can aim for success on the Tour of Oman.”

Stage two of the 2018 Tour of Oman starts tomorrow and will see the riders cover a distance of 167.5km as they make their way to Al Bustan.