Belgian “Jasper Philipsen” wins the first stage of the “UAE Tour 2022”


Belgium’s Jasper Philipsen celebrates after winning the opening stage of the UAE Tour on Sunday.

Belgium’s Jasper Philipsen took his first ever stage victory at the UAE Tour as he successfully out-sprinted a star studded field of fast men in the bunch sprint at the end of Stage 1, the Al Ain Water Stage, on Sunday.

Sam Bennett, Elia Viviani and Dylan Groenewegen surrendered after the Alpecin-Fenix rider launched his sprint from far out, taking advantage of the tailwind. He claimed three of the four distinctive race jerseys: GC, points and best young rider, while breakaway rider Dmitrii Strakhov of Gazprom–RusVelo took the Black Jersey of the intermediate sprints. It was all together again with 20km to go before the highly awaited first bunch sprint of the year in the UCI WorldTour.

“It was a pretty fast finish and we could see the line from very far away. We managed to make our way to the front and go for the sprint. This morning I was not confident at all and this was the first race of the season for me. It’s a really nice feeling to win against such a big list of top sprinters,” Philipsen said moments after the stage finish.

Later on, he added: “This victory makes this a really great start to the season. Everything went perfectly. We had a tailwind at the end. When it’s a headwind, you can gamble and come later, but today we knew the speed was high. I’m happy we could find a gap, so I could sprint as I wanted. To be first on the line was a great feeling. I started my career with UAE Team Emirates but I couldn’t race here until I changed team in order to focus more on sprinting and riding the classics. It’s a great race here with a very high level of sprinters. It’s important to start the season well in the UAE.”

Monday’s second stage, known as the International Holding Company Stage, consists of 176km and is from Hudayriyat Island to Abu Dhabi Breakwater.

It is a stage around the city of Abu Dhabi. It departs from Hudayriat Island and runs in its first part in Abu Dhabi to reach the Sheikh Zayed Bridge (arch. Zaha Hadyd) and then to Khalifa City. After the halfway point at Al Wathba Camel Track, the route passes by Al Falah to converge on Yas Marina and head to Saadiyat Island and the Corniche before reaching Abu Dhabi Breakwater, where a bunch sprint is expected.

The final five km remains on a wide road with sweeping bends leading to the tarmac finish line.

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