Abu Dhabi Tour: Nizzolo wins the opener, “riders in orange” active

Giacomo Nizzolo won the opening stage and put on the leader jersey in Abu Dhabi Tour. Alan Banaszek finished in the top 30.  

The race kicked off with a flat stage, designed for the sprinters. It was 147 kilometers long, but despite relatively short distance and not a single climb on the menu, it wasn’t going to be easy. High temperatures, which reached almost 40 degrees, were going to be a big factor.

Right after the gun, Łukasz Owsian tried to break clear, but eventually was unable to get in the break. Those who did, were Jens Keukeleire, Michael Matthews (both Orice-BikeExchange), Dion Smith (One Pro Cycling) and Gatis Smukulis (Astana).

They established nearly 6-minute lead and maintained very fast pace. Both the escapees and the bunch took advantage of the favorable wind and speeded through the desert . The average speed was over 45km/h, way faster than scheduled.

After the halfway point the peloton  accelerated and was gradually cutting the advantage. In the final 20-30 kilometers the wind switched to headwind, which slowed down escape drastically.

Meanwhile in the peloton, CCC Sprandi Polkowice was doing a lot of work in the front, setting the pace. The team was riding for its young sprinter, Alan Banaszek and thanks to their contribution the break got caught with 7km to go.

It stayed all together until the finish and the winner came from a bunch gallop. Unfortunately Banaszek didn’t manage to position himself well in the twisty finale and didn’t contest the sprint.

Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) took the win, besting John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) and Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data). Banaszek finished in 25th place.