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The overhead video really shows just how fast Tim Merlier was in the final 150m; the Belgian rider absolutely dominating the final of stage 1

Tim Merlier (Soudal QuickStep) has won the opening stage at UAE Tour but only after a major crash with just over 200 metres to go.

The crash occurred just behind the first 30 riders, with fallers on both sides of the road and then others ploughing into the crash as they had nowhere to go.

While Sam Bennett’s Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team did its best to position the Irishman for the final, the movement in the peloton was chaotic on the open roads and Bennett did not feature at the pointy end.

However, Merlier had no such problems; biding his time brilliantly to take a very clear win after benefiting when Fernando Gaviria (Movistar Team) went too early and gave his Belgian rider the perfect lead-out into the headwind.

More to come.

The crash in the finishing straight, with just over 200m to go, was a very nasty one

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