The opening stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour was about as mellow as a World Tour race comes. After the long trip here, I enjoyed shaking off the dust a bit and hopefully adjusting to the heat. This type of stage gives us the rare chance to chat with some of our peers. Early in the day, I got the chance to reminisce with Alexander Kristoff about our days as teammates at BMC Racing Team and other races we've overlapped at since then.
To give you an idea about the stage, we raced 58 of the final 60 kilometers in a straight line. The big change was the two turns in the final 2 km.
The course and wind were set up to yield a big bunch sprint, and there was never any doubt it would end that way. The headwind and fresh legs heading into these final bends made it pretty hectic, but we looked after Rohan the best we could and all finished safely in the bunch.
While there wasn't much variety in these desert races, it was interesting to see some terrain variation relative to the other desert countries I’ve raced through in the past. The irrigation and solar systems are unmatched by anything I’ve seen before.
And to cap off the day, congrats to Kristoff for notching a big win in his team's home race!