Race: Dubai Tour, Stage 1
Start/Finish: Dubai/Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Distance: 145 kilometers
Dubai, UAE —Team Novo Nordisk had an aggressive start to its first ever Dubai Tour with Martijn Verschoor sprinting to a top 10 finish while teammate Nicolas Lefrançois featured in the day’s main breakaway.
The 145-kilometer race began with a flurry of attacks and counterattacks, but within four kilometers, Lefrançois and four other riders escaped from the peloton. They weren’t allowed a gap of much more than two minutes throughout the flat stage. As the escapees approached the first intermediate sprint, Lefrançois said he was focused on taking top points and possible earning a jersey for the team on the opening stage. An unfortunate mechanical lead to a bike switch, but Lefrançois quickly regained contact with the breakaway. The group was reeled in with 20 kilometers to go, setting up a bunch sprint. Heading into the final kilometers, several Team Novo Nordisk riders were visible on the front and were well organized for the sprint finish. The teamwork paid off, and Verschoor sprinted to 10th place.
“I felt very good and it was a success getting into the break,” Lefrançois said. “I was so happy to make the break on the opening stage of a race as big as the Dubai Tour. Today was a very good day for the whole team, especially with Martijn sprinting to 10th.”
Results: Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quick Step) sprinted to the win in a photo finish ahead of Andrea Guardini (Astana Pro Team) and Elia Viviani (Team Sky).
Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team, continues racing at the Dubai Tour on Thursday with Stage 2, an 187-kilometer stage that beings at the Dubai International Marine Club. The stage features two intermediate sprints before finishing at the famed Atlantis hotel on Palm Jumeirah.