Van der Poel kicks off the road season by winning the first stage of the UAE Tour
It hasn't taken Mathieu van der Poel long to win in a different discipline. After winning the CX World Championships just 20 days ago, he has just taken his first victory in the 2021 Tour of the United Arab Emirates. It was in a reduced sprint after 177 km where the wind was the protagonist.
Van der Poel is the first leader of the UAE Tour 2021
The crosswinds break up soon the stage selecting a group of 26 riders who were able to open an important gap of more than 5 minutes with the rest of the field. The victory happened in a sprint to 3 where Van der Poel beat David Dekker (Jumbo Visma) and Michael Morkov (Quick Step).
#UAETour ¡Así fue la definición de la primera etapa del UAE Tour! Excelente victoria de Mathieu van der Poel, superando a David Dekker y Michael Morkov.— Ciclismo Internacional (@CiclismoInter) February 21, 2021
“Today was very windy, and a very hard race and I had good legs from the beginning. After the intermediate sprint a big group went away and I was with them. I knew I could finish it off in a sprint, but I didn’t expect it at all. It’s nice to start the road season with a win. I didn’t really expect this, I took some rest after the ‘cross season and rode for one week with the team then I came here – I guess this is cyclocross shape in the desert.” Van der Poel said on his arrival.
With this victory, Van der Poel also takes the leader's jersey in the UAE Tour, and will have to defend it tomorrow in a 13 km individual time trial where the classification could change completely.
Some of the favourites, such as Poga?ar and Adam Yates, winner of the last edition, saved the day today and have benefited from the cuts caused by the crosswinds.
Overall classification after the first stage of the UAE Tour 2021
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix 3:45:27
2. David Dekker (Ned) Jumbo-Visma +4"
3. Michael Mørkøv (Den) Deceuninck - Quick-Step +6"
4. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck - Quick-Step +7"
5. Tadej Poga?ar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates +8"
6. Emils Liepins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo +10"
7. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis +10"
8. Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ +10"
9. Chris Harper (Aus) Jumbo-Visma +13"
10. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck - Quick-Step +13"