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UAE Tour. Mark Cavendish takes a good third place in thrilling Stage 1

The UAE Tour got an explosive opening Stage 1 from Al Dhafra Castle to Al Mirfa with a crosswind hitting the peloton just from KM 0 of the race. It did not take much time for the echelons to get created with Astana’s two riders Cees Bol and Mark Cavendish making the first and second main groups, respectively.

With 45 km to go two groups came back together, while after a new split 13 riders went away clear with Bol and Cavendish among the leaders. At the end of the day this group played Stage 1 win in a sprint with Mark Cavendish finishing third and Cees Bol taking a tenth position.

“At the start it was all about positioning. With Cees we both went in the first group, but in a moment I got something like a stone on the side of the road and I lost my position in the front, dropping to the second group. However, Cees still was there in the front, and I had not pull in my group, just staying on the wheel all the time. When we came back together, I just jumped on the wheel of Cees, following him in the group. He is a great rider just to stay behind on his wheel. There was a right-side split in the group and the riders with GC ambitions worked hard in front, trying to keep the second group away. I just stayed there ready for the sprint. I was squeezed a bit on the last corner, but still did my best in the sprint, finishing on the podium and that’s not bad. Actually, I am happy I was there for the sprint, with my form and with support of Cees in the final”, – said Mark Cavendish.

“It was tough from the start because of the crosswind. We stayed together with Mark, but then I made the first group and Mark didn’t. I tried to open the group a bit, but it was too late. So, then I just stayed in the leading group trying to save myself as much as possible. I knew that normally the second group could come back, and it happened in the end. We found each other in this group, while later when we moved up to the front the group split again for the second time. However, we continued riding together to the final. We have quickly spoken to each other just to make a short plan and then in the sprint I think I still can do some details a bit better, but in general it went good, and we got a nice result”, – added Cees Bol.

Photo credit: @SprintCycling