Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) has emerged victorious in the first stage of the 2021 Tirreno-Adriatico, holding off the likes of Caleb Ewan and Fernando Gaviria in a sprint finish.
The Belgian had a meagre start to his 2021 season at the Strade Bianche, finishing fourth as he sought to defend his title, with Mathieu van der Poel claiming the crown.
But he was back to his best as the seven-stage race kicked off with a 156km course starting and finishing in Lido di Camaiore and is already thinking about winning the general classification.
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"The final straight was really long, so today it was all about the right timing," he said after the stage win.
"I had high speed and so when I saw the 200m sign and maybe a bit before, I thought not to wait and I launched my sprint. I had the speed to maintain it to the finish. I’m really happy," Van Aert said.
"For sure, I think today and at Strade Bianche we saw a strong (Jumbo-Visma) team. We’re in high spirits and big motivation for this week; starting with a win is perfect for the GC. We’ll see what the next stages bring but we’ve already achieved one goal today."
Ewan was his nearest challenger, but the Lotto-Soudal man timed his late sprint just too late to take the stage win off Van Aert's hands.
'What about that!' - Wout van Aert takes opening stage of Tirreno - Adriatico
STAGE ONE RESULTS
|1||Wout van Aert||Jumbo-Visma||3:36:17|
|2||Caleb Ewan||Lotto Soudal|
|3||Fernando Garivia||UAE Team Emirates|
|4||Andrea Vendrame||Citroen Team|
|5||Luka Mezgec||Team BikeExchange|
|7||Alvaro Hodeg Chagui||Deceuninck-QuickStep|
|9||Ivan Garcia Cortina||Movistar Team|
|10||Hugo Hofstetter||Israel Start-Up Nation|
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