UAE TTT: Jumbo-Visma take first ever stage at new WorldTour race
Roglic takes leader's jersey with Dumoulin and Nibali within striking distance.
Jumbo-Visma beat Team Sunweb and Bahrain-Merida into first on the fast windswept 16-kilometer team time trial, Sunday. Primoz Roglic was first across the line and so took the race’s red leader’s jersey.
“It was a fast team time trial and it went very well,” said Roglic. “It’s nice to have the leader’s jersey and we certainly have ambitions to win this race. There are still some tough stages coming up, so we take it day by day. But we have an excellent start.”
Riders started their day in downtown Abu Dhabi where they rode warmup laps on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the country’s Formula 1 track. Riders then transferred across the city to Al Hudayriat island. The man-made island opened in 2018 and is designed specifically for recreation and endurance sports. The island is crisscrossed by tracks made specifically for cycling and running. It also features a long swimming beach.
The offshore winds shifted several times during the time trial event, which kicked off at 2 p.m. with Russian team Gazprom speeding out onto the track.
Bahrain-Merida set the pace early on, driven by world champion time trialist Rohan Dennis, however the strength in depth of Jumbo-Visma’s team, with powerhouses such as Roglic, Tony Martin and Jos Van Emden, allowed them to set a time of 16:49; a blistering 57km/h.
The Dutch team was the 11th of 20 teams to start, and spent much of the day in the hot seat.
Sunweb were the penultimate team to start, and looked ready to dethrone the Dutch squad. However the team faded in the final half and finished second, seven seconds back, leaving Tom Dumoulin in a good position to battle for GC.
“At the end we were missing out on a little bit of firepower,” Dumoulin said. “I think we can be happy with a young group of guys here.”
Bahrain-Merida finished third, nine seconds back. They will be fighting for Vicenzo Nibali in the overall.
Monday will see the new race’s first road stage, a flat race to Abu Dhabi Marina, which will see the sprinters come to the fore.