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German sprinter Pascal Ackermann (UAE-Team Emirates) scored first at the UAE Tour, winning Sunday’s opening sprint in Dubai ahead of Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) and Rudy Barbier (Israel Start-UP Nation).
Ackerman rode the wheels of Mitchelton-Scott’s sprint train into the final few hundred meters, and then launched his sprint early, before Ewan and Dutch sprinter Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) had a chance to jump. The German then held his speed to the line, crossing just ahead of the Australian sprinter.
“I’m super happy with this victory because almost all the top sprinters are here and I wasn’t sure if my shape was good enough to beat them all,” Ackerman said after the finish. “Now I know that my shape is good and I can take it easy the next few days. It was a hectic sprint in which I was jumping from one guy’s wheel to another one. I took my chance at the right time.”
The sprint win came after a flat 148-kilometer opening stage around Dubai from the The Pointe, an upside shopping center along the coast, to Dubai Silicone Oasis, a technology park on the city’s eastern edge. The day’s two-man breakaway consisted of Russian Nikolay Cherkasov (Gazprom-RusVelo) and Leonardo Tortomasi of Vini Zabu-KTM.
The sprinters teams ramped up the pace with 30 kilometers remaining, making the catch at 14km to go. Then, the peloton prepared for the sprint.
Ackermann will don the red jersey as the first GC leader of the race. On Monday the peloton faces a hilly 168km stage that finishes with the uphill kick to Hatta Dam.
UAE Tour Stage 1: The Pointe – Dubai Silicon Oasis
- Pascal Ackermann, Bora-Hansgrohe, 3:29:19
- Caleb Ewan, Lotto-Soudal
- Rudy Barbier, Israel Start-Up Nation
- Dylan Groenewegen, Jumbo-Visma
- Luka Mezgec, Mitchelton-Scott
- Alberto Dainewe, Team Sunweb
- Jakub Mareczko, CCC Team
- Max Walscheid, NTT Pro Cycling
- Jose Joaquin Rojas, Movistar
- Andrea Vendrame, AG2R La Mondiale, all at s.t