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Kluge sprints to sixth after Ewan caught out in a chaotic crash in Abu Dhabi

Thu 23 Feb 2017

Multiple Santos Tour Down under stage winner Caleb Ewan was unfortunately involved in a high-speed crash today with one-kilometre togo on the opening stage of the 2017 Tour of Abu Dhabi.

Lead-out man Roger Kluge was able to quickly switch roles and make the best of the situation to claim sixth place behind the winner Mark Cavendish (Dimension-Data).

The crash and chaos so close to the finish effected many team’s including sprint rival Marcel Kittle (Quick-step Floors) and shattered ORICA-SCOTT’s hopes of a stage victory with Ewan. 

Thankfully the 22-year-old sprint star was able to finish the stage but afterwards complained of pain in his shoulder.

“The boys where in a good position and we where set for a great final,” explained sport director Dave McPartland. “It looks like Caleb took a good hit to his shoulder, it doesn’t appear to be too bad but he will go to the hospital to double check things.”

“He was conscious of what happened and was able to get back on his bike and at least ride to the finish.”

With many of the world’s best sprinters and lead out men getting into position for the final kick to the line, the quick touch of wheels coming underneath the Flamme Rouge meant the stage ended dramatically. 

Kluge luckily slipped ahead and missed out on the chaos behind to made his way into the top ten and salvage a placing for ORICA-SCOTT.

“Roger can look after himself really well in a finish so his sixth place at least puts a positive spin on the day,” said McPartland. “Hopefully everybody will be ok and tomorrow is another day.”

How it happened:

The much anticipated edition of the Tour of Abu Dhabi got underway in pleasantly mild conditions thanks to the change of date, being brought forward to February for the race’s third year.

The riders assembled at the start line and set off for the opening stage raced entirely through desert. The stage was predominately flat but with a middle section of rolling roads through an area of Dunes, it meant for a simple day on wide opened straight roads.

Six-riders established a lead within the first part of the stage and after just 45kilometres of racing they held a comfortable five-minute gap.

As expected the sprinters teams controlled the distance to the breakaway and slowly worked to reel them in as the kilometres ticked down. 

ORICA-SCOTT sent Jack Haig to represent the team and contribute to the chase and as the peloton headed inside the final 40kilometres, the original breakaway of six-riders reduced down to just three. 

The leaders were finally consumed with 15kilometres togo in time for the sprinters teams to get into formation the wide open roads ahead of a fast finish.

A touch of wheels sent numerous riders flying across the tarmac in what was a dramatic conclusion to the first stage. The racing continues tomorrow with a 153kilometre day.

Tour of Abu Dhabi stage one results:

1. Mark Cavendish (Dimension-Data) 4”37’06
2. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) ST
3. Niccolò Bonifazio (Bahrain Merida) ST
6. Roger Kluge (ORICA-SCOTT) ST

General classification after stage one:

1. Mark Cavendish (Dimension-Data) 4”36’56
2. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) 0:04
3. Niccolò Bonifazio (Bahrain Merida) 0:06
6. Roger Kluge (ORICA-SCOTT) 

Photos courtesy of ©TDWsport.com

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