Soudal-QuickStep Powers to Victory in UAE Tour Team Time Trial

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02/21/2023| 0 comments
Remco Evenepoel and other Team Soudal-QuickStep riders celebrate their UAE Tour team time trial win
Remco Evenepoel and fellow Team Soudal-QuickStep riders celebrate their team time trial victory RCS Sport - Sprint

Soudal-QuickStep Powers to Victory in UAE Tour Team Time Trial

Soudal-QuickStep beats EF Education-EasyPost by one second as Lucas Plapp takes overall race lead for Ineos-Grenadiers

Today’s stage 2 of the UAE Tour 2023 was a 17.3-kilometer team time trial inside the Khalifa port area.

The stage was contested at eye-opening speeds of up to 56.773 km/h – the fastest pace set by stage winners Soudal-QuickStep featuring Remco Evenepoel. The team rode the stage in 18 minutes and 17 seconds to protect the overall race lead of their rider Tim Merlier. Merlier, however, was dropped before the finish line and crossed the finish line 38 seconds later. He, therefore, lost the general classification lead to Lucas Plapp of Team Ineos-Grenadiers who finished the stage in third, three seconds behind the joyful winning team.

EF Education-EasyPost continued their impressive early season form by finishing second in today’s team time trial – just one second behind the winners.

“To deliver a good team time trial result was our goal, but we didn’t dare dream about winning the whole thing,” Evenepoel told before being celebrated on the podium. “It wasn’t easy today. Headwind, tailwind, headwind, tailwind, some tricky corners as well, but we kept our composure and stayed true to our plan.”

“We began speeding up in the headwind and saved some energy in the tailwind, going full gas in the second part of the stage. I did two very long pulls in the final kilometers and at one point we were riding at speeds of over 70 km/h.”

“The guys were incredible, they went all out, we kept the pace and didn’t have any significant fluctuations in our speed. It’s my first TTT win and it feels special to win with the team, it’s a moment from which we take a lot of confidence”, Evenepoel added.

Following today’s team time trial Ineos-Grenadiers rider Lucas Plapp leads the general classification of the 2023 UAE Tour in the same time as world champion Remco Evenepoel of Soudal-QuickStep. Bahrain-Victorious’ Nikias Arndt is third, three seconds behind Plapp and Evenepoel. 

"This is the first leader’s jersey of my career. It’s nice but there's definitely a long way to go in this race,” proud race leader Luke Plapp told “I’ll try to defend it as long as I can but Remco (Evenepoel) is definitely the favorite. He’s the World Champion for a reason. For me, it’ll just be a matter of holding on and seeing what I can do in the climbs from here.”

"As a team we probably didn’t attack the first half of the stage hard enough, that’s where we lost the stage in the end. We finished with four guys, which is always risky. At the end of the day, team time trials are the best events in cycling. The gaps are only minuscule, and it more-or-less keeps the general classification the same," Plapp continued.

Wednesday’s stage 3 is a 185-kilometer mountain stage from Al Fujairah to Jebel Jais. The stage concludes with a 19-kilometer climb on the Jebel Jais mountain that sports a 5.6 percent average gradient.

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