Primož Roglič has taken the lead in the inaugural UAE Tour as his Jumbo-Visma team won the stage one team time trial.
As the 11th team time start, Jumbo-Visma had a long wait in the hot seat as some of the slickest TTT units failed to topple their time.
Tom Dumoulin’s Sunweb were the next closest team at seven seconds back, while Bahrain-Merida’s third place keeps their general classification hopes alive.
How it happened
The course for the opening TTT was a rapid 16km loop on a purpose-built cycle track on Al Hudayriat Island, just outside Abu Dhabi.
With two U-turns the only features to slow the time trialling units, teams were hitting 55km/h average from the off.
A number of teams with strong team test pedigrees lined up with the Abu Dhabi skyline in the distance, including Sunweb and world TTT champions Deceuninck – Quick-Step.
Bahrain-Merida and Movistar were also looking for a decent showing to keep their overall classification hopes alive in the Middle East, for Vincenzo Nibali and Alejandro Valverde respectively.
Home-team UAE Team Emirates was the first of the WorldTour outfits to lay down a marker, 17-25 for the course.
But victory eluded the team of Dan Martin and Fernando Gaviria, as Mitchelton-Scott crossed the line next and knocked off four seconds to become the fastest after three teams.
Winners of the first TTT of the season at Tour Colombia, EF Education First, took the lead next with 17-55, as Mark Cavendish’s Dimension Data fell two seconds outside.
The pan flat desert setting of Al Hudayriat Island threatened to test the team’s technique, as the wind picked up later in the day.
Katusha-Alpecin, home of British time trial specialist Alex Dowsett and sprinter Marcel Kittel, hit the final corner down on time and their unit split on the final straight, knocking them out of contention for the stage.
After hitting the intermediate timing point as the fastest team, world time trial champion Rohan Dennis pulled his Bahrain-Merida squad across the line in the new fastest time of 16-58.
The Bahraini team were just nine seconds down on the eventual winners.
But their leadership was brief, as Jumbo-Visma hit the midway point as the new provisional fastest unit.
With Primož Roglič and multiple TT world champion Tony Martin in the squad, the Dutch team finished in perfect unison and took the hot seat with a time of 16-49, an average speed of 57km/h.
Sunweb are still firmly in contention for their GC hopes, finishing within 10 seconds of the winners.
The last team on the road looked like the most likely to topple the leaders, but Quick-Step fell short of the needed time, leaving the victory to Jumbo-Visma and putting Roglič into the first red leader’s jersey of the inaugural UAE Tour.
UAE Tour 2019 stage one, Al Hudayriat Island to Al Hudayriat Island (16km TTT)
1. Jumbo-Visma (Ned), in 16-49
2. Sunweb (Ger), at 7s
3. Bahrain-Merida (BRN), at 9 seconds
4. . Team-Sky (GBr), at 14s
5. Movistar (Esp), at 19s
6. CCC Team (Pol), at 24s
7. Deceuninck – Quick-Step (Bel), at 26s
8. EF Education First (USA), at 26 s
9. Bora-Hansgrohe (Ger), at 29s
10. Dimension Data (RSA), at 29s
General classification after stage one
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, in 16-49
2. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
3. Jos van Emden (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
4. Koen Bouwman (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, all at same time
5. Max Walsheid (Ger) Sunweb, at 7 seconds
6. Chad Haga (USA) Sunweb
7. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb
8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb
9. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Sunweb, all at same time
10. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Bahrain-Merida, 8s