Abu Dhabi Tour: Stage 1

Cycling

ByTheMinCycle

Good morning everyone! I hope you’re ready to follow the first stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour with me, Robyn. You can also catch me on Twitter – robyndavidsonxo, or over at my blog, https://gruppettosandstilettos.wordpress.com.

So what’s in store for today? The peloton will be covering 189km from Madinat Zayed, back to Madinat Zayed, coming as no shock that the stage is quite flat.

John Maguire

They have gone over a couple of road bridges Robyn!

Robyn🥀

Cat 5: road bridges

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) was looking to add to his strong season start, yet has been taken down in a neutral zone crash, with the Manxman abandoning.

Increasing in length by a stage for 2018, the now five-day race has the sprinters in mind towards the start, with the first three stages likely to favour the fast men. Stage 4 is an individual time trial, while stage 5 features a summit finish.

Here we go! Live coverage is underway. It was through winning the mountain stage ahead of Zakarin and Dumoulin last year that Rui Costa sealed his overall 2017 Abu Dhabi victory, and he’ll be on the start line again this year for UAE Team Emirates.

More unfortunate news for Dimension Data, as the crash appears to have been caused by the race director's car slowing, ahead of the peloton. Trusov of Gazprom–RusVelo takes the first intermediate sprint, a team that are now focused more on Russian youth.

John Maguire

did you find who got 3rd in the sprint

Robyn🥀

Caruso, BMC

5 riders are still in the break: Albanese (BRD), Trusov (GAZ), Skujins (TFC), Caruso (BMC) and Planet (TNN). 68km to go, nearing the next intermediate sprint, and they have 2'13" on the peloton.

Since donning the rainbow jersey in 2013/14, Costa hasn’t had the same success from the stripes, as say, Sagan. The former world champion admitted illness and lack of training days may hinder his title defence when speaking to Sport360°: “I’m not in the same shape or same condition as last year because I was sick for one week when I came back from Australia and I lost several days of training.”

There's been a crash at the back of the peloton, involving Minali (AST) and a BORA rider. No serious injuries to both, and they're back on their feet.

Toms Skujins (Trek) is driving hard at the front of the break. So hard in fact, he's distanced and is now going solo. 61km to go, but 2km to the next sprint.

Steph

Got to love Toms taking a cheeky solo!