UAE Tour 2023 – Stage 1

A stage for the sprinters.


A flat stage.

This is a look at the finale. Mainly with roundabouts, and they are quite large the roundabouts. They will stretch out the group. The run back from 1.75 km to the last right hand side corner is where the leadout train comes in handy. If you are not one of the first through the corner, the chances of you winning is slim.


It will actually be quite windy tomorrow. With the wind blowing from NW 7-9 m/s. That mainly means a headwind, so expect a slow day. It also means we have a tailwind sprint, making positioning very important tomorrow.


Merlier – now riding for Quickstep. Van Lerberghe, Evenepoel, Cerny, Schmid as the train? Not in that order. Having Evenepoel is just a bonus really, he can make sure Merlier is in the best possible position to win. It is not certain Evenepoel wants to be involved, but it would be wise to be near the front and helping your team at the same time.

Cavendish – with Cees Bol to help. I don’t see him winning – they just weren’t good enough in Oman.

Plowright – the mullet man. Very quick but inexperienced. Sinkeldam is still a good lead-out man, but it would be a big surprise to see Plowright getting anything better than a top-10.

Bennett – he has something the others do not have. Danny van Poppel. It is more or less all out for Bennett at this race with Zwiehoff and Buchmann being the only two climbers. He did well in San Juan, and with the important corner tomorrow, Bennett is one of the riders to beat.

Demare – a new train if I’m not mistaken. Bram Welten likely to be the last man and those two haven’t raced together yet. The technical finish is good news for him, but I doubt he is quick enough as the stage is quite easy too.

Viviani – likely with some strong riders to help him, but I think the Italian will surf wheels – that is something he knows how to do. Recently did track Euros so form should be very good. I think the technical finale is good for him, he is a talented technical rider.

Thijssen – crashed Down Under which is mainly the reason for poor results. He is very, very fast. Johannesen and Boy van Poppel to help him. I doubt that is good enough to win the stage tomorrow, but with a good position, he will challenge for the podium.

Gavivia – looked good in San Juan, but without a proper sprint train, it will be hard to win.

Gronewegen – here with all the right ones. Mezgec, Scotson and Reinders. Took a stage win in Oman, but was beaten by a large margin by Milan. He was just not as quick as expected.

Kooij – not a half bad sprint train for him tomorrow. Van der Sande, Roosen and Hessmann have enough power to be in contention for one of the strongest sprint trains tomorrow. He can beat the very best on a good day and with that train, I think we will see him on the podium.

Welsford – Mr. San Juan. Those two wins were very impressive. With sprinters, we often talk about their morale. His is sky high just now. Edmondson, Rodenberg and Lund Andresen are young riders. I think he should surf wheels, Kooij, Merlier or Bennett and hope to surprise them.

Who will win?

Despite Merlier having Evenepoel, I think Bora-Hansgrohe has the biggest advantage of having Van Poppel for tomorrow’s stage. A stage win for Sam Bennett.

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