A four-rider breakaway formed soon after the flag dropped on the 148-kilometer stage but with the pan-flat stage presenting the first opportunity for the sprinters, the peloton kept the quartet on a short leash, never allowing their advantage to exceed three minutes.
The race situation remained unchanged for the first 100 kilometers before the peloton gradually brought the breakaway’s advantage down and eventually caught the remaining two riders inside the final 15 kilometers.
The sprint trains formed on the wide open roads with Mareczko well protected by his CCC Team teammates towards the front of the bunch in the chaos of the final 10 kilometers with the sprinters fighting for position.
Despite getting pushed out from the front of the bunch and entering the final kilometer outside of the top 20 riders, Mareczko fought his way back in the last 500 meters and managed to surf the wheels and launch his sprint, crossing the line in seventh place in a show of his early season form.
The rest of Mareczko’s teammates, including Ilnur Zakarin and Pavel Kochetkov, who made their debut with CCC Team, crossed the line safely in the bunch.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“It was quiet in the bunch all day with the breakaway up ahead and it stayed like this until the very end when the speed became faster and everyone was getting ready for the sprint. It was a chaotic finish because there were a lot of roundabouts in the finale and everyone was battling to be in front. In the sprint, there were almost six riders all in a line. It wasn’t an easy sprint but I am happy because I’m feeling good after the solid work that I have done with the team in the winter, and also my first races in France. So, I hope in the next few days I can be in a good position, like I was in Provence, and have the best possible chance in the sprint.”
Stage 1: The Pointe > Dubai Silicon Oasis (148km)
Top 3: 1. Pascal Ackermann (BOH), 2. Caleb Ewan (LTS), 3. Rudy Barbier (ISN)
CCC Team top 3: 7. Jakub Mareczko, 38. Ilnur Zakarin, 43. Víctor de la Parte
📷 Getty Images