UAE Team Emirates’ Alexander Kristoff produced a sprint masterclass in Madinat Zayed to secure the victory in the opening stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour (photo Bettini). The Norwegian showcased why he is considered one of the world’s top sprinters by battling through a hectic, bunched sprint finish to claim the red jersey for UAE Team Emirates on home soil.
The race, a 190km route through the Abu Dhabi desert, saw riders battle 33 degree heat and tackle strong head-winds throughout. With just 2km of the race complete, the breakaway riders made their move and built up a substantial four minute lead on the peloton. At 150km that group had whittled down to one lone rider and despite leading for over 170km, the peloton timed their chase perfectly and caught up with 13km to go. As the race came to a climax in front of a packed Emirati crowd at Madinat Zayed, the cheering fans spurred on the relentless Kristoff as he crossed the line to pick up his second stage victory for his new team, following his stage victory at the Tour of Oman.
Commenting on his second consecutive stage win for UAE Team Emirates, Alexander Kristoff said; “I was quite lucky as I lost my team mates wheel, but I managed to get in the draft and come around in the head-wind to the line. It’s a great win for me and for the team here on home ground. Now we can put the marker down on our home race and it’s a really nice feeling. I’m really proud to win today and to get my second victory of the season. Thanks to all my team-mates and colleagues who helped us achieve it – it’s a great feeling to start off like this in a new team, and to do so in the year of Zayed gives added value to the win, for both the team and the fans.”
Stage two could see Kristoff battle for a podium spot once again, as the route favours the sprinters and will see riders navigate the picturesque Yas Island, passing sites including; Yas Links Golf Course, Yas Mall and the internationally recognisable Yas Marina Circuit. UAE Team Emirates’ fans will also be able to take in stunning views of the team as they ride past Emirates Park Zoo, Khalifa Port and Yas Viceory, before a sprint finish at Yas Beach, in what promises to be another thrilling day of cycling.
UAE Team Emirates’ participation at the Abu Dhabi Tour gives the region’s community the opportunity to come together and support world-class athletes as they aim to become one of the top cycling teams on the tour.
Stage 1 results:
- Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) 4h48’24”
- Andrea Guardini (Bardiani-CSF) s.t.
- Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) s.t.
General classification after stage 1:
- Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) 4h48’14”
- Andrea Guardini (Bardiani-CSF) 4″
- Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) 6″