photo credits @ Abu Dhabi Tour
Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Segafredo) claimed stage 1 of the Abu Dhabi Tour in a sprint finish today, after the Italian rider succeeded in fending off late challenges from John Degenkolb (Giant Alpecin) and Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data)to seize the stage honors.
“It was a really long sprint and really fast. What can I say? I’m really happy,” Nizzolo said at the finish.
“After the Worlds on Sunday I said I would come to Abu Dhabi Tour and look for one more victory. That’s the best start.”
Giant-Alpecin led-out the sprint with Nizzolo patiently waiting until the final 150 meters before unleashing his unassailable attack. Meanwhile, Cavendish lost his readout man, Mark Henshaw, in the final kilometer and was left without a slipstream to follow in.
Michael Matthews and his teammate Jens Keukeleire (Orica-BikeExchange), along with Gatis Smukulis (Astana), and Dion Smth (ONE Pro), marked the day’s first breakaway group.
From there, the quartet went on to establish an advantage of more two minutes over the peloton, before heading back toward the start in Madinat Zayed.
With 10 kilometers to go however, the escapees’ lead had dwindled to just a little over half a minute, thanks to the combined chase efforts of Dimension Data, Team Sky, Lotto-Soudal, Giant Alpecin and Trek-Segafredo. And, not long after, the breakaway group was caught by the peloton.
As the race was shaping up for an inevitable sprint finale, Nizzolo found himself nicely delivered to the front by his team, just as Giant-Alpecin began opening up the sprint.
The final set of curves strung out the peloton with Cavendish and Renshaw losing each other in the melee.
This was all Nizzolo needed to stamp his authority on the stage and take the first leader’s red jersey.
Top 10 Finishers
1 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 3:15:59
2 John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Alpecin
3 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data
4 Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-BikeExchange
5 Christopher Latham (GBr) Team Wiggins
6 Michael Kolar (Svk) Tinkoff Team
7 Romain Maikin (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo
8 Marco Coleman (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
9 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing
10 Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Giant-Alpecin
General classification after stage 1
1 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 3:15:49
2 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:00:04
3 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data 0:00:06
4 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-BikeExchange 0:00:07
5 Dion Smith (NZl) ONE Pro Cycling 0:00:09
6 Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-BikeExchange 0:00:10
7 Christopher Latham (GBr) Team Wiggins
8 Michal Kolár (Svk) Tinkoff Team
9 Roman Maikin (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
10 Marco Coledan (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
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