Strong performance in first team time trial
In what was the first team time trial of this season the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM showed a strong performance: It finished the opening stage of the United Arab Emirates Tour in 3rd place and conceded less than ten seconds to the day’s winning team. On the same day Dylan Teuns finished the Ruta del Sol in 10th in the overall standings.
As a merger of the Abu Dhabi Tour and the Dubai Tour, the United Arab Emirates Tour is a new stage race in the Middle East. Featuring an opening team time trial, two flat stages for sprinters, two hilly stages and two real mountaintop finishes, this one-week stage race caters to various talents and rider types. And since the new race has been promoted to World Tour status the list of participants is pretty impressive as well. Unsurprisingly the line-up of the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM for this race packs quite a punch: In their quest for a good result in the overall standings, Vincenzo Nibali and Rohan Dennis can rely on the help of Damiano Caruso and Jan Hirt while the team’s sprint train for Phil Bauhaus is built around Marcel Sieberg and Heinrich Haussler. Despite the strong competition the riders in red, gold and dark blue should be very competitive at most stages of the initial United Arab Emirates Tour.
The opening stage held on Abu Dhabi’s Hudayriat island was all about team work: The course of the team time trial over a distance of 16 kilometer was entirely flat and only featured two u-turns, promising a very fast race. In its first team time trial of the season the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM lined up new signings Rohan Dennis, Damiano Caruso, Jan Hirt and Marcel Sieberg - strong rouleurs capable of cranking out serious wattages. The seven riders in red, gold and dark blue paced their effort skillfully: While they posted the 5th fastest time at the intermediate point after ten kilometers, but the team moved up two positions on the second part of the course to finish in 3rd, beating a number of strong teams. This performance is all the more remarkable as this was the first time ever that the team competed a team time trial in this line-up. As the first rider of the team to cross the finish line, Rohan Dennis shows up in 10th place in the overall standings.
Dylan Teuns finished the Ruta del Sole in Spain’s Andalusia region in the same 10th place in the overall standings. At the uphill finish at end of the first stage Teuns could not keep up with the fastest rivals, still feeling the effects of an illness he had suffered from the week before the race. But as the race proceeded the Belgian improved step by step, moving up to 10th place in the overall standings after the Queen’s stage. Other highlights from the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM’s perspective were Ivan Cortina’s 3rd place in stage 2 where the Asturian rider almost managed to surprise the pure sprinters, Matej Mohoric’s strong ride to 9th place in the individual time trial on the third day and the same rider finishing the final stage of the race on the ascending finishing straight in Alhaurin del Torre in 6th.
1ST UNITED ARAB EMIRATES TOUR
STAGE 1: AL HUDAYRIAT ISLAND - AL HUDAYRIAT ISLAND, 16KM (TTT)
1. Team Jumbo Visma, NED, in 16.49 minutes
2. Team Sunweb, GER, + 0.07
3. BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, BHR, + 0.09