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by Shane Stokes
February 22, 2018
Kristoff wins stage 1 of the Abu Dhabi Tour; Guardini, Ewan go close to victory in Abu Dhabi; Concussion diagnosis for Cavendish following early exit from Abu Dhabi Tour; Wiggins advises multiple world champion not to go to Team Sky; Riders’ association negotiates increased prizemoney from RCS Sport; Tweaks to Paris-Roubaix route unveiled, ASO confirms 29 sectors in all; CyclingTips Podcast: NAHBS predicts the future of bikes, plus a look at concussion tests; Video: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad teaser; Video: The system of winter transfers.
Alexander Kristoff took up where he left off at the Tour of Oman, winning the opening stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour on Wednesday. The Norwegian blasted past Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) and held off Andrea Guardini (Bardiani-CSF) at the end of the 189 kilometre stage from and to Madinat Zayed. Elia Viviani (QuickStep Floors), who was the dominant sprinter in the Dubai Tour, was fourth.
“In the final straight line, I lost my lead-out man Roberto Ferrari but I found the wheel of Caleb Ewan,” said Kristoff, who gave his UAE Team Emirates squad an important win in their home region. “He’s a really good sprinter but I managed to come around him and keep the lead all the way till the line despite the head wind.”
The stage made headlines immediately after the start when Mark Cavendish crashed out during the neutralised section. He tried to continue but was unable to do so; meanwhile, Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing Team), Vincenzo Albanese (Bardiani CSF), Charles Planet (Team Novo Nordisk) and Nikolay Trusov (Gazprom-Rusvelo) attacked and built a lasting lead. Trusov was dropped closer to the finish, with Caruso then pushing on alone with 20 kilometres left. However he was reeled in seven kilometres later, paving the way for the bunch sprint and Kristoff’s win.
“It’s a great win for me and also for the team on home ground,” said the Norwegian. “Now we can turn the pressure down a little bit. This is our home race.”