Mathieu van der Poel hails 'cyclocross shape in the desert' as key to UAE Tour stage win

The Dutchman arrived in the UAE with zero personal ambition but found himself on the top step of the podium once again

(Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Even if Mathieu van der Poel rules himself out of the running, stating on the record that he would be working for Jasper Philipsen and Alpecin-Fenix this UAE Tour, it doesn't seem to be able to stop the Dutchman crossing the line first.

When echelons erupted almost from the flag drop of stage one, the WorldTour peloton wasting no time in getting back to racing after the delayed start to the season, Mathieu van der Poel of course found himself at the pointy end of proceedings, making the front group twice in the race.

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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.