Stage 1 concluded with a chaotic gallop to the line.
The second edition of the UAE Tour started from Palm Jumeirah and continued towards the Al Qudra area, followed by a desert section before returning to the town shortly ahead of the finish. As a result, not many riders found an incentive to go in the breakaway, and the opening stage ended up being animated by four riders of Pro Continental teams.
Pieter Serry and Stijn Steels laid down the watts in pursuit of the quartet and continued to work hard to keep the lead-out train in a prime position even after pegging back the escapees with 12 kilometers to go. The closing kilometers included several sweeping turns and some roundabouts which worked against the sprinters’ teams. Sam Bennett had fellow national champions Shane Archbold and Michael Mørkøv for company, but things turned really hectic and scrappy after the last left-hand turn and the Irishman concluded the stage won by Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe) outside the top 10.
“The team did a great job, we never panicked and kept everything under control. I was confident and had really good legs, but we misjudged the last part and were a bit unlucky as things turned messy, so I didn’t get to open up the sprint and in the end it wasn’t the desired result. But the good part is that the morale is there, we find each other with ease out there and have confidence, and this is very important ahead of the next stages, when I’m sure we’ll get other opportunities”, Sam Bennett said after the 148.6km stage that concluded in Dubai.
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