Multiple crashes marred the opening stage of the UAE Tour Women, causing splits in the field and a somewhat disorganised last kilometre. Still, when it came down to the final sprint, Charlotte Kool came out on top, securing the stage 1 win and the first red leader’s jersey at the four-day event. Outpowering her former teammate Lorena Wiebes, Kool’s stunning sprint victory made her our UAE Tour Rider of the Day.
The anticipation was high coming into the sprint-heavy UAE Tour Women, not only because it is the inaugural edition of the race but because it offered the peloton one of the first tests of the fastest sprinters riders on the Women’s WorldTour.
One of the biggest stories heading into this season was how Wiebes and Kool, and their respective lead-out teams, would match up against one another in a bunch sprint.
The crashes, crosswinds and chaos have made it somewhat hard to gauge the organisation of their lead-outs. Still, in those scenarios, a team’s and a sprinter’s ability to communicate, reassess and make last-minute tactical changes is also essential.
Crosswinds swept across the peloton as they charged down the broad exposed highway that led into the run-in to the Dubai Harbour. Team DSM sat further back in the field and protected their sprinter, Kool, for as long as possible, almost entirely foregoing a lead-out.
The first real sign of a lead-out organisation came from UAE Team ADQ, working for Marta Bastianelli, but it wasn’t long before Canyon-SRAM, Movistar, and Jayco AlUla pulled their sprinters up to the front of the field and into position.
Exiting the last 90-degree corner and into a block headwind, SD Worx took control at 700 metres out, with Femke Markus and Barbara Guarischi guiding Wiebes into what looked like an easy victory.
Anniina Ahtosalo (Uno-X Pro Cycling), surprisingly, jumped out of the field early, forcing Wiebes to open her sprint at the 400 metre-to-go mark along the righthand side of the road.
That’s when Kool, who had stayed protected from the headwind for as long as possible, blasted up the centre line unleashing her maximum power and comfortably taking the stage win ahead of Wiebes, while Chiara Consonni (UAE Team ADQ) claimed the final spot on the podium.
Charlotte Kool is one of the fastest-rising sprinters in women’s cycling. This year marks only her second full season racing on the Women’s WorldTour, but she gained a lot of experience in her first season with Team DSM under the tutelage of former…
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