Victory in Dubai! Wiebes takes the perfect start to her season

Written by: Felix Mattis
Posted 3 months ago

Lorena Wiebes (SD Worx – Protime) is the winner of the first stage at the UAE Tour Women. The dutch rider took the victory at Dubai Harbour after 122 kilometres ahead of Rachele Barbieri (dsm-firmenich – PostNL) and Chiara Consonni (UAE Team ADQ) to also take the overall lead of the four day event.

With Charlotte Kool (dsm-firmenich – PostNL), who won at the same place the year before, being absent, Wiebes was the hot favourite for the expected bunchsprint, but it needed a perfect leadout from Barbara Guarischi and World Champion Lotte Kopecky to seal the victory.

“It’s never really easy, but the girls did a really good job towards the final corner. Then Lotte and Barbara also did a great job to deliver me at around 150 metres – and then that made it a bit easier. But it was also a bit of a gamble with the wind”, Wiebes said after sprinting against a headwind towards the finish line, where she celebrated with her left hand pointing towards her fingers of the right hand.

“That was actually my nails because I had also a little bit of a bet with Lonneke Uneken”, Wiebes laughed in her Pro Cycling Women winner’s interview. Uneken had asked Wiebes to point to her painted fingernails, where she always adds a little gold to have luck, if she would win in Dubai – said and done. “I think she will need to give me some money now”, Wiebes said about the betting stake.

Before Wiebes could sprint to victory in her first race of the 2024 season, the peloton had to cover 122 kilometres from Dubai Miracle Garden out into the desert to the Flamingo Lake and back into the mega city to finish at Dubai Harbour. Wind was blowing, but not enough to create echelons. So the peloton stayed mostly together, despite some small breakaway attempts which never got further away than 1’15.

I had a little bit of a bet with Lonneke Uneken

At the second intermediate sprint Lotte Kopecky sprinted to get a bonification second for third place and underline her ambitions in the General Classification. In the finale then Austrian Champion Carina Schrempf (Fenix – Deceuninck) attacked with 2.5 kilometres to go, but was reiled back in early enough for the big bunchsprint to the line, where Wiebes was just unbeatable.

During the stage two big crashes – one including defending champion Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl – Trek) and one including polish sprinter Daria Pikulik (Human Powered Health) – shattered the peloton, but despite a lot of lost skin and bleeding wounds, nobody was injured seriously.

On stage 2, which will start in the coastal town of Al Mirfa and finish in the desert in Madinat Zayed, Wiebes will wear the red jersey as overall leader. Barbieri will wear the green jersey for the points classification, which also is lead by Wiebes.

The white jersey of the best young rider and the black jersey of the best rider at the intermediate sprints are both owned by Yanina Kuskova (Tashkent City Team). The 22 year old rider from Uzbekistan will wear white on Friday and Alice Palazzi (Top Girls Fassa Bortolo) takes the black intermediate sprint jersey, as she is second there – level on points with Kuskova.

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