Mathieu van der Poel sprints to Stage 1 Victory at the UAE Tour
Dutch rider who has ridden whole winter season of cyclo-cross outsprints Viviani, Pogacar and Almeida from the leading group. Strong winds cause huge splits in the peloton
Stage 1 of the UAE Tour saw some furious panic attacked racing from the start, the strong winds caused echelons
The first WorldTour event of the 2021 season, the UAE Tour started this Sunday for seven days of racing.
It was Mathieu van der Poel who won the first stage contested between Al Dhafra and Al Mirfa (176 km), a stage which was marked by strong winds. A group made up of around twenty riders and which was formed with around 100 kilometers to go, the Dutchman (Alpecin-Fenix) won the sprint ahead of his compatriot David Dekker (Team Jumbo-Visma) and the Dane Michael Morkov (Deceuninck-Quick Step).
Van der Poel said his cyclo-cross form helped him win today, "I think this is cyclo-cross shape in the desert," he joked.
“Today was very windy and a very hard race”, explained Van der Poel. “After the intermediate sprint a big group went away, and I was able to catch them. It was a really hard race…I know that I can finish it off in the sprint, but I didn’t expect it at all. It’s really nice to begin the road season with a win.”
“When the race is really hard, my sprint gets better and better,” van der Poel explained. “I knew that I had to be in a good position and start sprinting when I thought it was the right moment. [His teammate] Gianni Meersman did an amazing job to catch the guy who was away [Deceuninck-QuickStep’s Mattia Cattaneo, who tried a solo attack 6km from the finish], and I’m really happy to begin this way.”
GC contenders Tadej Pogacar, Adam Yates and Joao Almeida finished in the front group, the peloton crossed the line more than 8 minutes down. Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates), Adam Yates (INEOS Grenadiers), Joao Almeida , Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck-Quick Step) were all present in the leading group and should fight over the coming days for the Red Jersey.
Stage 2 on Monday February 22 2021 is a 13km ITT around Al Hudyriat Island, riders will compete over a short and fast-paced course, though brief, the time trial will no doubt provide an opportunity for early time gains in the closely-fought General Classification.
VIDEO: 2021 UAE Tour Stage 1 Highlights
2021 UAE Tour Stage 1 Top 10
1 VAN DER POEL Mathieu Alpecin-Fenix 40 35 3:45:47
2 DEKKER David Team Jumbo-Visma 15 20 ,,
3 LIEPINŠ Emils Trek - Segafredo 6 12 ,,
4 MØRKØV Michael Deceuninck - Quick Step 9 ,,
5 VIVIANI Elia Cofidis, Solutions Crédits 7 ,,
6 POGACAR Tadej UAE-Team Emirates 5 ,,
7 ROUX Anthony Groupama - FDJ 3 ,,
8 HARPER Chris Team Jumbo-Visma 2 ,,
9 ALMEIDA João Deceuninck - Quick Step 1 ,,
10 MASNADA Fausto Deceuninck - Quick Step