MUSCAT, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- The 2019 BikingMan ultra-cycling event, organized by the International Cycling Federation (IUA) and hosted by the Oman Cycling Committee, has opened in Oman, with 80 cyclists from 22 countries and regions taking part.
The race spans 1,000 kilometers and features 7,500 meters of elevation gain. Starting from Barka, about 100 kilometers away from the capital Muscat, the course passes through Jabal Shams to the state of Sour and then back to Muscat.
The cyclists arrived at the first checkpoint in Jebel Shams on Sunday evening.
Belgium's Simone de Scatelle, who was the first to reach the checkpoint, said: "I was keen to get to this point before dark. Everything went well, and I will try to sleep for a good time tonight to continue tomorrow at the same level and I hope to win the race."
"One of the most striking features of the race is the natural diversity and scenery we experience, but it is certainly one of the most difficult races I have ever seen, because of the rugged nature of the Sultanate," said Rodney Sanko from Peru.
The 2019 BikingMan opened on February 24 and concludes on February 28.