Cast your mind back to the Tour of Oman when Alexander Kristoff bagged the first victory for his new team, UAE-Team Emirates. It was the team’s first win of 2018, and the first time in a while that the Norwegian crossed the line, arms aloft, without his helmet at a jaunty angle. Hold that thought.
Kristoff seems to have a thing for the Tour of Oman. He’s there every year. Maybe it’s for the vitamin D or it could be because he tops the table of most stage wins. Eight. Not too shabby considering the six-day tour only appeared on the race calendar in 2010.
These early season races don’t have much in the way of heritage. There aren’t any sepia photographs to look back on. They’re an hors d’oeuvre for the spring classics and the first real chance for riders to test the legs, giving the new recruits a taste of battle alongside their new teammates.
Oman was the first time Kristoff had pinned a dossard onto team kit after leaving Katusha-Alpecin over the winter. And it’s the first time he’d raced in the MET Manta helmet (which thankfully fits him a treat).
The Manta’s fit was one of the primary objectives for the designers. They’ve used what they call the Safe-T Advance Fit System, which makes the helmet more comfortable as well as reducing its weight. Aero helmets do tend to pay a weight penalty, but the Manta only comes in at around 200g, and they say it’ll save 10 watts at 50km/h on a vented helmet. Enough to make a difference in a sprint. Probably.