A messy sprint on the UAE Tour first day
Mark Cavendish lined up for the first time in two years at the start of the UAE Tour with a strong team by his side, featuring the likes of Michael Mørkøv and Stijn Steels, and the goal of being in the mix on the four flat stages. Such a stage awaited the riders Sunday, when they embarked on a 184km loop around Madinat Zayed which was animated by a five-man breakaway.
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl was among the teams that posted a man at the front of the peloton to control the gap and bring back the attackers, with the catch eventually happening around 20 kilometers from home. With the Olympic Madison Champion piloting him under the flamme rouge, Cavendish was in a good position to fight for victory, but in what turned out to be a nervous mass gallop, he was blocked by a rider with 150 meters left and had to hit the brakes.
The Manxman concluded outside the top 10, as Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) took the win, and will now set his sights on Monday’s stage in Abu Dhabi, which too is expected to come down to a bunch sprint.
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