• Rúben Silva

UAE Tour Stage 1 Preview

The Route

The race starts off as we know the UAE to be, pan flat. No climbing whatsoever just pure flatlands that could be very exposed to the wind. It's a trecherous stage, the start and finish will be in Dubai and well covered but nerves will be high as they travel through the desert.

The finish will present itself a total of 10 roundabouts in the final 10 kilometers. I wouldn't necessarily call it a technical finish but all this twist and turn will leave dents in the peloton and it will be crucial to be very well positioned from very far, there will be one inclusively in the final 300 meters which will make it a hard sprint.

The Weather

There will be a moderate wind from the Northwest at some point of the stage, it will mean for a headwind for the approximation to the final kilometers, but a slight crosswind through the desert road, and a tailwind in the finishing straight. Stressful day it will be I imagine.

The Favourites

There's a lot of quality in the field, Deceuninck have their new prime sprinter Sam Bennett lining up with newly crowned New Zealand NC Shane Archbold and Michael Morkov as premier leadout men, Fernando Gaviria comes from his San Juan hattrick of wins alongside Max Richeze, Pascal Ackerman is coming with his personal leadout men Selig and Schwarzmann. Caleb Ewan comes after another impressive stint in Australia, Dylan Groenewegen comes with the same motivation likely from Valencia, and Arnaud Démare is also present with his leadout men Jacopo Guarnieri and Ramon Sinkeldam.

Sometimes keeping it short is the best, there's no-one that stands out in such a list. And the impressive thing is to see the amount of B-tier sprinters that are coming in with wins already in the bag.

There's Max Walcheid flying in from Malaysia where he won in Langkawi two times, Rudy Barbier who won the opening stage in San Juan, Attilio Viviani who did the same feat in Amissa Bongo, yet another man who had that feat was Sunweb's Alberto Dainese. Then there's Luka Mezgec who's successfully came back from injury in Valencia and is looking solid, Jakub Mareczko who came very close to winning in Provence and is carrying good speed, and finally Bahrain with Mark Cavendish, although there's no clear expectations to set on him, Marco Haller is a solid sprinter and could perhaps feature in the end instead of the Manxman.

I've kept this text similar to the overall preview as really there's no-one more of a favourite than others, it will all be about positioning and how they manage to save their legs for the final dash. After tomorrow's finish, then we'll be able to take some conclusions and work out who is above who in here.

Prediction Time

Groenewegen, Ewan, Ackermann, S.Bennett, Gaviria

Démare, Walscheid, Barbier

Mareczko, Dainese, Mezgec, A.Viviani

I'm going with power over aerodynamics for tomorrow. Ackermann is one of the sprinters that has his premier leadout with him, he's gotten a win to his name this year and I think he'll top the competition tomorrow.

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