We bring to you cycling magazine as Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) won the opening stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour, after out-sprinting Andrea Guardini (Bardiani CSF) and Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) as seen on a flat first day…
Kristoff’s UAE Team Emirates team were far through the closing kilometres, largely leaving Kristoff to his own devices as the LottoNL-Jumbo, Katusha-Alpecin and Quick-Step Floors all trying to take position.
In the samw it was Mitchelton-Scott who led put Caleb Ewan into a good position with 300m, the new kid on block and the young Australian crouching low over his bike to open the sprint.
But Ewan seemed to fade off as the line approached, leaving Kristoff to move past on the left, taking his second victory of the year as Ewan was edged out of second by Andrea Guardini.
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Surprisingly, the opening stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour was full of action even before the flag had even dropped, with Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) crashing in the neutral zone and falling on the shoulder that he broke at the 2017 Tour de France.
Cavendish remounted his bike, but was clearly in pain as he abandoned and climbed into the team car just five kilometres after the official start of the race. Dimension Data later announced that he had suffered concussion and whiplash in the crash, with race organizers blaming the crash on automatic sensors on an official car, causing it to brake which led to a ripple effect through the bunch.
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With Cavendish out of the race, a five rider break formed early on, consisting of Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing), Charles Planet (Novo-Nordisk), Vincenze Albanese (Bardiani CSF), and Nikolay Trusov (Gazprom-Rusvelo).
That fivesome enjoyed a maximum lead of around three minutes on the 189km stage which was largely run along an out-and-back route through desert scenery.
With 160km of the route being run on straight roads, the break was almost constantly within sight of the peloton making the chase easy to judge as a number of teams shared the work on the front of the peloton.
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One by one the breakaway riders dropped away, with Skujins the first to drops back to the peloton, followed by Albanese and Trusov after Caruso attacked with Planet with 27km remaining.
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Caruso did the lion’s share of the work with Planet sitting in his wheel, before losing patience with his breakaway companion and going solo with 20km to go, still enjoying a lead of around 1-20.
The gap quickly dropped and Caruso was caught with 13.5km remaining the pace going up in the peloton, leaving it up to the sprinters’ teams to control the race on the run towards the line.
Notably the real action kicked off with around five kilometres remaining as the lead-out trains began to form with Katusha-Alpecin lined out on the right-hand soide of the road battling for dominance with LottoNL-Jumbo and Quick-Step Floors on the left side.
The increase in speed from LottoNL-Jumbo saw them win that battle as the race was lined out with 2.5km to go as Katusha were forced back into the centre of the bunch to regroup.
Morever, Lotto seemed to have gone too hard too early, leaving Quick-Step and Mitchelton-Scott to set the pace under the flamme rouge.
The Australian team proved the strongest, putting Ewan into a strong position to sprint for the line. But it was Kristoff who proved the stronger, emerging from the wheels to surge past Ewan, who was also edged out of second place by Andrea Guardini.
Results (cycling weekly news)
Abu Dhabi Tour 2018, Madinat Zayed to Madinat Zayed, 189km
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1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates, in 4-48-24
2. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Bardiani CSF
3. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
4. Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
5. Daniel McLay (GBr) EF Education First-Drapac
6. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
7. Michael Bresciani (Ita) Bardiani CSF
8. Danny van Poppel (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
9. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale
10. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal, cycling weekly news all at same time.
General classification in Order after stage one
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates, in 4-48-14
2. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Bardiani CSF, at 4 secs 0:00:04
3. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott, at 6 secs 0:00:06
4. Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
5. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Bardiani CSF, at same time
6. Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo, at 7 secs
7. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team, at 9 secs
8. Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors, at 10 secs
9. Daniel McLay (GBr) EF Education First-Drapac
10. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, at same time
Reason For The Clash On Cycling Magazine
It was automatic sensors on the race director’s car that caused it to brake suddenly, causing the crash of Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), who abandoned stage one with concussion said Abu Dhabi Tour organisers.
Giro d’Italia organiser RCS Sport runs the Emirates race and for 2018, uses Mercedes cars for official vehicles. The incident occurred in the neutral zone at the start of stage one which we had brought to you cycling weekly news.
As it was hapening, avendish was one of four riders to crash, returning to his bike before abandoning at kilometre five.
“They [the riders] were near by car, and the car has those sensors that caused it to brake. And it braked,” course director Stefano Allocchio said after the stage have been concluded.
“Unfortunately, it’s one of these things. Tonight we will talk to a mechanics to make sure they are deactivated. We don’t want to risk this happening again.” cycling magazine
Allocchio, who sits shotgun with an official driver at the wheel, said it was the first time such a thing has happened in a race with organiser RCS Sport. The organiser will visit Cavendish and Dimension Data tonight to talk about the incident.After the incident riders where spread out and others passed on both sides of the silver Mercedes E300 EMC when it slowed, but Cavendish and Team Sky rider Leonardo Basso were one of the riders brought down behind the car.
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