Dubai: UAE Team Emirates rider Diego Ulissi delivered on his promise while winning the opening stage of the Skoda-Tour of Luxembourg (2.Pro) late on Tuesday even as the Abu Dhabi-based outfit trained their sights on a more than busy week ahead.
Ulissi put in a confident performance to take his first win of the season and after being set up nicely by his teammates, the 31-year-old Italian made one of his trademark punchy attacks on the final incline with a kilometer to go and finish clear of Amaury Capiot of Sport Vlaanderen and Delko-Nippo rider, Eduard Grosu.
Known for his versatility and all-around approach, Ulissi had promised his best before the start of the Skoda-Tour of Luxembourg. The Italian didn’t disappoint as he reserved his best for the final kilometre as he pounced with 250 metres to hand the UAE Team Emirates its 24th win of the season.
Not to be outdone, UAE Team Emirates riders Jasper Philipsen and Rui Oliveira finished off a strong team performance with fifth an sixth respectively on the stage.
Ulissi was mindful of the team’s contribution in his opening stage win. “The team did a great job today, setting me up perfectly for my attack in the last kilometer. I did a good sprint, finally managing to get my first win of the season after so many placings,” Ulissi admitted.
“The stage in general wasn’t too hard, but the final 20 kms were complicated, especially the last thousand metres, where luckily I had great legs,” he added.
Ulissi will now wear the yellow leader’s jersey heading into Wednesday’s Stage 2 from Remich to Hesperange over a 160.8 kms distance featuring a predominantly hilly finishing circuit.
Meanwhile, the UAE Team Emirates has confirmed its line-up for the three back-to-back Italian one-day classics with the Giro Della Toscana on Wednesday (September 16), the Coppa Sabatini on Thursday (September 17) followed by the Giro dell’Appennino on Saturday (September 19).
The seven-man teams will be guided by two Italian sport directors, Manuele Mori and Bruno Vicino, who know these roads well.
Stage 1 Results: 1. Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) 3:13:15; 2. Amaury Capiot (Sport Vlaanderen); 3. Eduard Grosu (Delko-Nippo)”.
General Classification after Stage 1: 1. Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) 3:13:02; 2. Amaury Capiot (Sport Vlaanderen) @7”; 3. Eduard Grosu (Delko-Nippo) @9”.
Giro Della Toscana (1.1): Mikkel Bjerg (Den); Alessandro Covi (Ita); Fernando Gaviria (Col); Max Richeze (Arg); Juan Sebastian Molano (Col); Edward Ravasi (Ita); Aleksandr Riabushenko (Bel).
Coppa Sabatini (1.PRO): Andres Camilo Ardila (Col); Mikkel Bjerg (Den); Alessandro Covi (Ita); Juan Sebastian Molano (Col); Cristian Camilo Munoz (Col); Edward Ravasi (Ita); Aleksandr Riabushenko (Bel).
Giro dell’Appennino (1.1): Andres Camilo Ardila (Col); Alessandro Covi (Ita); Joseph Dombrowski (USA); Juan Sebastian Molano (Col); Cristian Camilo Munoz (Col); Edward Ravasi (Ita); Aleksandr Riabushenko (Bel).