Crosswinds makes for exciting stage, Bonifazio 8th.
Abu Dhabi, February 22nd, 2018 – 154km on paper looked like it could be similar to yesterday’s race, but what a difference some crosswinds can make. The breakaway didn’t have a chance when peloton U-turned at Khalifa port 65km to go. It was then when teams turned the speed up and with the help of crosswinds the echelons were created. At 50km to go there were 5 different groups with our riders being in groups 2 and 3, with 2 minutes between all the groups, but only 10km to go first 3 groups managed to get back together and regroup getting ready for sprint. Our riders spent too much energy trying to bridge the gaps, so not too much was left in the tank to organize a good sprint train. Despite the difficulties during the race, Bonifazio managed to come 8th and all of our riders managed to cross the finish line in the main group.
“All the riders finished in the first group but it cost a lot of energy today to came back. We had nobody in the first group when echelons happened. All the riders were aware that peloton will split at that point, but it was bad luck that they didn’t get into the first group, then they chased it back, and that was a good reaction from the team. This all means we are still in the hunt for GC and that is the most important today.” – Rik Verbrugghe explained how the stage unfolded. Asked about will chasing first group effect our riders for tomorrow, will they recover he answered: “It all depends if tomorrow will be windy stage again or not, as we can see that in Abu Dhabi wind makes the difference, but now is the time to save energy for the Time Trial and the last stage, but we can’t afford to loose any time tomorrow.”
Tomorrow’s stage will be in the city limits (133km), but if windy, it could also create exciting stage.