Tim Merlier crosses the finish line ahead of Caleb Ewan and Mark Cavendish Tim Merlier sprints to victory in UAE Tour 2023 beating Caleb Ewan and Mark Cavendish in photo finish
Stage 1 of the 2023 UAE Tour was a 151-kilometer flat stage from Al Dhafra Castle to Al Mirfa designed by race organizers as a delicious treat for sprinters, thereby hoping to attract popular sprinters to the race.
The stage was decided in a close sprint from a select group of eleven riders – the closest finish ever in the history of the UAE Tour. Tim Merlier (Soudal-QuickStep team) was the fastest man on the day and beat Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Dstny) and former world champion Mark Cavendish of Team Astana-Qazaqstan in a stage final contested next to the Al Mirfa seafront.
Merlier, Ewan and Cavendish had cleverly been monitoring the action at the front of the peloton with about an hour of racing left and smartly joined a breakaway group that consisted of twelve riders.
The stage offered exciting racing with the route taking the riders from Al Dhafra castle and through the stormy desert. The racing conditions caused multiple echelons to form shortly after the stage start and for a long while a 24-man front group featuring world champion Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep), Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe), and Luke Plapp (Ineos-Grenadiers) dominated the race, before the groups were reunited after the second intermediate sprint of the day. Later, a new breakaway group broke away featuring the stage winner.
“It was a hard stage, but […]
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