Cycling | 21 februari 2018

Van Poppel eighth in hectic sprint in Abu Dhabi

Danny van Poppel has finished eighth in the first stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour. Alexander Kristoff took the win.

Van Poppel had a very quiet race for the first hundred and eighty kilometres. "But then it went very quickly. We lost each other for a while, but Robert Wagner brought me back in the hectic final, so I could still partially participate in the sprint", said Van Poppel, who was dropped off for the sprint in the final kilometres according to plan.

Sports director Sierk Jan de Haan saw the riders race long straight roads today. "It was very monotonous from the start, but it enabled the riders to get used to the temperature of thirty degrees Celcius. There was little wind, so it did not become very exciting. We knew in advance that it was going to be a bunch sprint."

Because the team had to transfer early this morning, the finish could easily be explored. "Based on that, we agreed on the tactic to push forward late in the race. We did that and with about two and a half kilometres to go, we went through the corner first. After that, it became a bit hectic, but Danny could still join in."

It was the first time that Van Poppel appeared at the start of a race with his regular lead-out partner Robert Wagner and it suited him well. The team will use this week to evaluate and perfect that lead-out. Van Poppel was enthusiastic about it: "I'm looking forward to the next few days, where we still have plenty of opportunities."