Van der Poel only knows how to win

Triumphal premiere of the Dutchman. The race is shaping up to be a duel between Pogacar and Almeida. Froome, Valverde or Nibali yielded for the fans.


In modern cycling, every detail is analyzed. Strong crosswinds were expected for the first day of the UAE Tour. Despite runners being on notice, things don't always go as planned. The air, the speed and the work of the Deceuninck to cut the group dynamited the round on the first day. Because only Adam Yates (the current champion), Tadej Pogacar, Joao Almeida, Fausto Masnada and Damiano Caruso entered the final selection as contenders for the title. Of the Spaniards, only Rubén Fernández, signing of Cofidis. Instead, Mathieu van der Poel is always where he needs to be. In his first foray of 2021 on the road, first victory and lead. The quadruple cyclo-cross world champion, heir to Raymond Poulidor (his grandfather) and Adrie van der Poel (his father), outnumbered David Dekker, son of Erik, another famous former Dutch professional.

The fans caught illustrious people such as Froome, in his debut with the Israel jersey, Valverde (the Movistar men wore black crepes in memory of Garikoitz Baños, Gary, auxiliary who died on Saturday in an accident on Mount Aloña), Nibali, Buchmann , Higuita or Kuss. KO in the first round, with more than eight minutes lost. For his part, Almeida got six seconds in the intermediate sprints, by five for Pogacar (two bonus and another three that stung at the finish line). The pulse between the local squad, UAE, and Deceuninck, will be sustained until the closing, both in the fight for the partials (the Belgians tried to avoid the resolution in volata and burned Gaviria) and for the classification. Meanwhile, Adam Yates will need a better version of the Ineos and scratch differences from the clock on Monday.

As expected, the World Tour campaign began with strict sanitary regulations in the same race in which the pandemic broke out in 2020. A year ago, the positives in the UAE and Rusvelo caused the cancellation of the last two stages (Pogacar won at Jebel Hafeet and Adam Yates took the overall), in addition to harsh isolations at the caravan hotel in Abu Dhabi. This 2021, the platoon arrived on charter flights from Milan and Paris. Runners and staff passed three tests prior to the first day. Usual measures in the times of the virus. The term bubble is already part of cycling jargon.

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