Neo-pro Shines in the Breakaway at Abu Dhabi Tour
23 February 2018
Race: Abu Dhabi Tour, Stage 3
Start/Finish: Nation Towers/Big Flag, United Arab Emirates
Distance: 133 kilometers
ABU DHABI, UAE — Team Novo Nordisk rider Sam Brand leaped at the chance to ride in the breakaway on Friday in stage three of the Abu Dhabi Tour.
Brand, in the first World Tour race of his career, attacked the peloton twice before getting away in the company of three other riders on a hot day among the post-modern architecture of downtown Abu Dhabi, and stayed off the front for almost two hours.
At the intermediate sprint Brand, used the advice of teammates and team directors to test his legs against more experienced riders, and found himself watching and learning as the breakaway turned into a battle of wits at the line.
Soon the peloton began to chase in earnest, and before the next sprint Brand attacked together with one breakaway companion to try and hold them off. But two against 134 proved to be no match, and he settled in for a sprint finish in front of a large crowd at the end of the Abu Dhabi marina.
Phil Bauhaus of Team Sunweb edged out Marcel Kittel (Team Katusha – Alpecin) for the stage 3 win, and Andrea Peron finished best for Team Novo Nordisk at 18th.
“Today was very insightful. It was my first World Tour race, and I knew that the other guys were going to try and sprint. Some of them were skipping turns and taking it easy to prepare themselves, and for me it was ideal to go about 1k early to build up speed.
But there was a block headwind and it was really hard, so I tucked back in behind the strongest guy and tried that way. In the end they caught us back up and I got to help Andrea to a top 20 in the sprint.”
Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team, continues racing at Abu Dhabi Tour on Saturday with a 12.6-km individual time trial in Al Maryah Island.
1st: Phil Bauhaus (Team Sunweb): 3:02:55
2nd: Marcel Kittel (Team Katusha – Alpecin): same time as Bauhaus
3rd: Pascal Ackermann (BORA – hansgrohe): same time as Bauhaus
18th: Andrea Peron: same time as Bauhaus
(Photos: ©TDWSport/Getty Images)