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Lorena Wiebes of SD Worx-Protime won the opening stage of the UAE Tour Women after a powerful lead out from teammate and World Champion Lotte Kopecky.
The 112km stage finished on the wide roads of the Dubai Harbour. Carina Schrempf (Fenix-Deeuninck) made a solo attack with 2.5km to race but was caught with 700 metres to go as the peloton dived into the sweeping final turn.
In the final 500 metres, Kopecky hit the front with Wiebes on her wheel. With the line in sight, Wiebes then opened her sprint and surged away from the pack.
Rachele Barbieri (dsm-firmenich PostNL) was second, with fellow Italian Chiara Consonni (UAE Team ADQ) in third.
Thanks to winning the stage, Wiebes took a ten-second time bonus and so is the first race leader, pulling on the red jersey. She will wear it during Friday’s second stage from Al Mirfa Bab Al Nojoum to Madinat Zayed which is expected to also finish in a high-speed sprint.
24-year-old Wiebes won 12 races in 2023 and started her 2024 season with yet another victory.
“It feels great to win the first race of the season. It’s always nice to win,” Wiebes said, explaining how she and SD Worx did it.
“It was a big chaos in the fight before the final corner but I still had Lotte Kopecky and she made it perfect. She’s a great rider to have to help. I’m happy with how we work together.
“We planned to be on the right as much as possible for the wind. It worked out. We now have the race lead and so there’ll be pressure on us for stage 2 but we’re ready for that.”
More to come…
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