Race report

Tough day out in echelon action at UAE Tour

UAE Tour

Photo Credits: Cor Vos

The first World Tour stage race of the year got underway at the UAE Tour today, with the peloton faced with a 147 kilometre long flat stage through the desert. Strong winds made for a nervous start and as soon as the flag dropped, the bunch split to pieces under the duress of a hard pace that was set at the front.

The team didn’t panic in the second group on the road however, knowing that the race would turn into a strong headwind around 30 kilometres later. Things eventually regrouped and the pace in the bunch calmed down. Yet, after the second intermediate sprint which strung the bunch out, the pace remained on and as the road turned into more of a crosswind, a group of 26 riders formed a front group.

Those ahead worked well together and despite a valiant effort from the team to chase to close the gap in the hope of setting up sprinter Cees Bol for the finale, the elastic finally snapped as the race hit the closing circuit, meaning the stage was decided by those out front.

The team regrouped and rode home together with the rest of the field in the trailing peloton, looking ahead to tomorrow’s flat and fast 13 kilometre long individual time trial.

“It was a very intense day for us,” explained road captain Nikias Arndt. “For most of us it felt like a shock to the system today, especially with the echelons from the start. Unfortunately, at the intermediate sprint it split and we missed the first group which was basically the breakaway then, made up of around 26 guys. We tried to get it back but we missed that chance. We’re looking forward to the next stages and the opportunities there. We’ll try to improve our communication and I hope that we also get a bit more explosive throughout the next days, and we’re looking forward to the next sprint.”

Team DSM coach Luke Roberts added: “It was quite a tough start, considering for most of the peloton it was their first race day of the year. Straight away we were into a pretty nasty tail-crosswind section, which split the bunch up and made a really intense race from the beginning. It did come back together but then the second time it split unfortunately we missed that first group of 26-odd riders, and were caught in a chase group. It was a difficult fight for the guys all day, trying to keep in contention but unfortunately it wasn’t our day, but there are more days to come here.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 VAN DER POEL Mathieu Alpecin-Fenix 3:45:47 40
2 DEKKER David Team Jumbo-Visma ,, 15
3 MØRKØV Michael Deceuninck - Quick Step ,, 6
28 ARNDT Nikias Team DSM 8:29 -
52 ARENSMAN Thymen Team DSM ,, -
73 DONOVAN Mark Team DSM ,, -
110 STORK Florian Team DSM ,, -
113 KRAGH ANDERSEN Asbjørn Team DSM ,, -
120 BOL Cees Team DSM ,, -
130 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM ,, -