2024 UAE Tour – Stage 1 Race Report

How the race finished

Lorena Wiebes (SD Worx-Protime) took a comfortable first win of the season in the opening stage of the UAE Tour, ahead of Rachele Barbieri (dsm-firmenich Post NL) and Chiara Consonni (UAE Team ADQ).

Full results are available below.

 

How it happened

The opening stage of the womens’ UAE Tour saw the peloton take on 122.3km from Dubai to Dubai Harbour. Despite being almost completely flat, as with any stage in the UAE tour, the big question for the riders at the start was how hard will the wind blow, and how much chaos would crosswinds wreak on the peloton and in particular, for the riders with an interest in the General Classification. 

With just enough wind blowing to cause jitters, the opening 25km saw a nervous racing in the bunch. There was no chance for breakaway to get established, as teams continuously fought for position at the front.With 92 km to go, leading into an exposed motorway overpass, SD Worx-Protime came to the front to put pressure on. The peloton stretched out, but stayed together. The pace remained high as the riders passed camels, only easing up enough at 84 km to go to allow a breather for domestiques to pick up bottles. 

The first attack of the day came some 50km into the race, with Alice Palazzi (Top Girls Fassa Bortolo) growing her solo lead out to almost a minute. Palazzi picked up the intermediate bonus seconds, but the peloton accelerated behind, with Loes Adegeest (FDJ-Suez) taking the remaining bonus seconds ahead of Karlijn Swinkels (UAE Team ADQ). The peloton pressed on through a crosswind section, eventually reabsorbing Palazzi. 

Taking advantage of a lull in the pace at 54km to go, Yanina Kuskova (Tashkent City Women Professional Cycling Team) rolled off the front. Behind her, a crash in the peloton saw a few riders on the ground, including last year’s overall winner Elisa Longo-Borghini. The peloton eased to allow riders to return. Shortly after, SD Worx-Protime again saw an opportunity in a crosswind section, and their pace on the front brought back Kuskova. Although there were no splits, the bunch was nervous. with multiple teams taking turns to push on the front.

When the pace eased again at 43km to go, this time Gaia Segato (Top Girls Fassa Bortolo) took advantage and clipped off. With the peloton still at ease, Longo-Borghini managed a bike change. After her earlier escape, Kuskova wasn’t yet finished, and went on the attack again. Looking strong, she quickly bridged to Segato at the front. Together, they pushed the gap out to 1 minute 20 over the peloton.

At 33 km to go, with the next intermediate bonus seconds sprint looming at 29 km to go, the peloton picked up the pace. Kuskova took the 3 seconds bonus ahead of Segato, with Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx-Protime) picking up the final bonus second in the sprint behind. 

With the leading duo caught, it started to look increasingly like the peloton was settling in for a bunch sprint. At 13km, there was a big crash near the front. Favourite for the day, SD Worx-Protime sprinter Lorena Weibes went down, but was quick to rejoin to bunch. Claire Steels (Movistar) was slower to remount her bike, and Movistar dropped three other riders back to help her return. After an impressive effort to save their GC rider, they were able to bring her back in time for the finish.

Into the final 2km and the peloton was churning like a washing machine. With no one team properly committing to the front, it looked like everyone was set on trying to preserve their leadout strength for the finale. Carina Schrempf (Fenix-Deceuninck) looked to capitalise and took a flyer, but was reeled back in by the bunch, led by Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling, with one kilometre remaining.

UAE Team ADQ led into the final corner with Silvia Persico, but their leadout train was disrupted and leader Chiara Consonni lost her position. In the acceleration towards the line, DSM were initially up there, as were Jayco, but  the SDWorx train was too strong and it strung out behind them down the final straight. Kopecky with a big final leadout set up Wiebes for a comfortable win. Rachele Barbieri, who stepped in for DSM-firmenich Post NL as lead sprinter after Charlotte Kool was unable to start, crossed the line in second, just ahead of Chiara Consonni (UAE Team ADQ) in third.

 

Stage Results

Results powered by FirstCycling.com

 

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