UAE Tour 2023: Merlier sprints to first leader’s jersey

Tim Merlier uae - UAE Tour 2023: Merlier sprints to first leader's jerseyfoto: Cor VosThe UAE Tour opens with an emblematic race. The 1st stage brings echelon fueled action from start tot finish. It comes down to a sprint of a select group with Tim Merlier powering to victory a millisecond ahead Caleb Ewan. Obviously, Merlier is the first leader on GC. (Slideshow route/profile)

Results 1st stage 2023 UAE Tour

1. Tim Merlier (bel)
2. Caleb Ewan (aus) s.t.
3. Mark Cavendish (gbr) s.t.
4. Olav Kooij (nld) s.t.
5. Nikias Arndt (ger) s.t.
6. Phil Bauhaus (ger) s.t.
7. Luke Plapp (aus) s.t.
8. Remco Evenepoel (bel) s.t.
9. Pello Bilbao (spa) s.t.
10. Cees Bol (nld) s.t.
– peloton + 0.51

GC after stage 1
1. Tim Merlier (bel)
2. Caleb Ewan (aus) + 0.04
3. Luke Plapp (aus) + 0.05
4. Mark cavendish (gbr) + 0.06
5. Nikias Arndt (ger) + 0.07
6. Remco Evenepoel (bel) + 0.08
7. Pello Bilbao (spa) s.t.
8. Olav Kooij (nld) + 0.10
9. Phil Bauhaus (ger) s.t.
10. Cees Bol (nld) s.t.

Race report
Strong winds are blowing in the emirates and shortly after the start the peloton splits into several groups. The gap between the first two groups widens to almost 1 minute. Remco Evenepoel, Pello Bilbao, Luke Plapp and Thomas Gloag are the GC riders first group; Sam Bennett, Olav Kooij, Phil Bauhaus, Cees Bol, Danny van Poppel and Elia Viviani the sprinters. The chasing group, featuring Adam Yates, Tim Merlier, Caleb Ewan, Dylan groenewegen, Arnaud Démare and Mark Cavendish, closes down the gap in a 100 kilometres chase.

Plapp gains 5 bonus seconds in the intermediate sprints, Evenepoel and Bilbao both take 2.

A group with Fernando Gaviria, Jay Vine, Jakob Fuglsang, Alexey Lutsenko and Sepp Kuss seemed to have missed out at first. They were riding 5 minutes behind the first group at a certain point, but since the first group slows down after the regroupment they are gradually closing in.

But when they are within touching distance a group of 13 strikes at the front. On board are Remco Evenepoel, Bert Van Lerberghe, Cees Bol, Pello Bilbao, Mark Cavendish, Phil Bauhaus, Luke Plapp, Nikias Arndt, Jarrad Drizners, Matevz Govekar, Olav Kooij, Caleb Ewan and Tim Merlier.

The lead group enters the finishing circuit 40 seconds ahead of the chasers. They widen the gap to more than 1 minute.

Evenepoel attacks with 2 kilometres to go. Plapp and Bilbao go with him. But the race comes down to a sprint anyway.

Merlier opens and Ewan is the only riders who matches him. The Australian jumps in the final metres and crosses the line celebrating. But eventually Merlier is declared the winner.

Another interesting read: route 1st stage 2023 UAE Tour.

UAE Tour 2023 – stage 1: route, profile, tweets

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Tim Merlier

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