Abu Dhabi Tour Stage 1: Drucker 9th in Bunch Sprint20. October 2016, Madinat Zayed (UAE) — Road Team
Jempy Drucker sprinted to ninth place on the opening stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour which saw the peloton tackle a fast and hot 147km of flat terrain in the desert.
A four-rider breakaway went clear in the opening hour of racing and the peloton was content in letting the group gain a six-minute advantage.
With a field of the world’s best sprinters present the chase started to heat up as the race went through the feed zone and the breakaway’s advantage decreased.
With strong winds and and the sprinters’ teams chasing hard the peloton went ahead of schedule, and eventually caught the breakaway just 7km before the line.
A battle of the sprinters’ lead outs ensued which saw Drucker’s teammates do a good job of positioning him until he was blocked in the final kilometers. Drucker chased back to finish in the top ten with two more sprint stages to come.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Jempy Drucker: “The guys did a good job especially in the final 5km. They kept me up the front and actually it wasn’t so hectic for me except for into the last kilometer with 600m to go I was in Greg Van Avermaet’s wheel and we got passed from everywhere and we were blocked a bit. There’s where we lost the good position which is a pity because I felt like I could do much better than ninth place. But there’s still two mores sprints to come.”
“The race to catch the breakaway was not so easy with the wind and there were pretty strong guys in front, so the pace was always high. At the end we caught them not far before the line which shows that they were strong because the bunch was riding pretty fast. It was all lined out so it was already a tough first day. The first day in a stage race where everyone knows it will come down to a sprint finish is a bit of a poker game.”
Yvon Ledanois, Sports Director: “With stage one being a dead flat stage we knew it would come down to a bunch sprint so we had the team supporting Jempy Drucker. The guys did a good job today of protecting Jempy and keeping him up there and he felt good and showed that he is pretty strong, even this late in the season. For the two sprint stages on stage 2 and 4 we’ll definitely be trying for Jempy again.”
Abu Dhabi Tour
Stage 1: Madinat Zayed > Madinat Zayed 147m
Top 3: 1. Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo), 2. John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin), 3. Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data)