The first stage of the 2017 Abu Dhabi Tour ended with a bunch sprint, won by the Britain Mark Cavedish. The final sprint has been altered by a fall at only 1 km to the finish line, no one rider of the Astana Pro Team was involved.
The first stage of the only World Tour Asian race sees in the next Saturday’s uphill final its crucial point. Here are the words of the Sport Director in race, the Italian Giuseppe Martinelli: “Our captain in this race is Fabio Aru, we also Tanel Kangert, who won the 2016 edition of this race, but lets see how the race will develop… we have brought to Abu Dhabi even our young and talented sprinter, the Italian Riccardo Minali, who did good things just a couple of weeks ago at the Dubai Tour.”
Minali was delayed by the last fall today (at 1 km to go), he didn't fall down but he lost speed and he couldn't sprint at the best.
“Three flat stages with the only unknown of the wind – explained Martinelli – and one uphill final, it looks very easy to interpretate but it is never like that: the team is here to help Aru to do as good as possible, last week podium at the Tour of Oman was a confirmation we are on the right direction.”
Today’s first stage has been characterized by a long escape of five riders (in the last part they remained in three at the front) to whom also our Kazakh young talent, Artyom Zakharov, took part.
“I was at the front when it has given the official start – explained Zakharov – some guys attacked and I jumped in the breakaway… then we did a good rhythm and the temperature was quite high, at least the bunch catched us at only few kms to the finish.”
Tomorrow, second stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour, from Abu Dhabi (Al Maryah Island) to Abu Dhabi (Al Marina), 153 km almost flat but along the sea coast, it should be another bunch sprint.
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