Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team | Bonifazio sprints to 6th place in opening stage of Abu Dhabi Tour
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Bonifazio sprints to 6th place in opening stage of Abu Dhabi Tour

  |   Press

Madinat Zayed, February 21st, 2018 – The sun is out and there is a little wind, perfect day for the pure sprinters on the course of 189km route from Madinat Zayed, towards the desert and back to Madinat Zayed. Unusual crash happened in the neutral zone when Mark Cavendish crashed and abandoned the race. He was considered one of the top favorites for the 3 sprint stages, if not for the whole race.

The breakaway of 5 riders had minimal margin to expect to succeed, and the peloton was all together 14km to go. That’s when teams started fighting for positions before two turns 4 and 2,3km before the finish line. The wind picked up during the stage and riders had it in their face last 45km of the race. Our team smartly stayed covered in the middle of the peloton but made a move just before the turns to be in great position for the sprints. At the end Bonifazio turned on the turbo engine and sprinted to very good 6th place, considering the number of great sprinters at this year’s Abu Dhabi Tour.

“It seams like it was all day headwind, specially in the final stretch, so it was easier for our riders to stay in the back, but 20km to go I asked the guys to move in the front and they put Bonifazio in the good position. There were almost 2 sprints today, one on the right side with Kristoff and one on the left side with Quick-Step. He chose the Quick-Step group but the right side was little bit quicker, but anyway our team did a good job bringing him in to the good position, he was there, and then the sprint is the sprint, you have to have a little luck as well.” – explained our Sports Director Rik Verbrugghe. Asked about tomorrow’s stage he said: “Tomorrow’s stage won’t be

boring as today’s, since there will be more direction changing, but we’ll analyze the course day by day.

Tomorrow’s stage starts from Yas island, goes to Khalifa port and back to Yas beach finish. It will be second chance for the sprinters and our Bonny.

(All pictures attached can be used for editorial and non commercial usages only and are copyright protected – © Team Bahrain-Merida/ @BettiniPhoto)