Hard day under Dubai heat.

Frozen water bottles was used to cool off riders before the start.

The opening stage of the 2nd edition of the UAE tour started at The Pointe at the Palm Jumeirah and finished at Silicon Oasis. It was a hot day for the riders with heats already at 30-degrees, and luckily the route was flat.

A breakaway of four riders formed a gap, but at no point threatened the peloton, and were caught in the last 15km. In the final 5km, positioning was crucial due to corners and roundabouts. Despite the team working well to get Cavendish at the front in the final kilometres, we lost position in the last 500m and couldn’t recover. It was Bora- Hansgrohe’s Pascal Ackermann who took the stage win today.

Our Sports Director Franco Pellizoti: “The objective for today was to try and win with Mark Cavendish and not to lose time with Wout Poels. Only one of those two points were achieved. It was not easy, the level of the race is very high and there are many good sprinters. Tomorrow we’ll try again, although it won’t be easy for Mark, as he only has Haller for the lead out, but it’s important that Mark keeps well, and tries some other day.

Our leader Wout Poels said: “It was a nice flat day, a little bit warm. I think we did a good job as I didn’t lose time. It was a really fast final, the beginning was not so fast. The first day is ticked off, looking forward to tomorrow.” Asked about tomorrow’s stage and last climb to Hatta Dam, Wout answered: “I think we have to try with both (Mark and me), it’s quite a hard finish. Last year Caleb Ewan won, so also sprinters can do well at that stage, but the most important thing is not to lose time again.”

Tomorrow’s stage is tricky as it could be a stage for sprinters, punchers and GC riders, as the last climb to Hatta Dam is really short but steep.

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