Brandon McNulty leads UAE Team Emirates to clean sweep in Stage 2 time trial

Home team’s Adam Yates stays on course as GC contender, 30 seconds behind American, who claims overall UAE Tour lead

Powered by automated translation

UAE Team Emirates made a sensational clean sweep of the podium in the UAE Tour’s Stage 2 individual time trial at Hudayriyat Island on Tuesday.

Brandon McNulty led the first three home and that success also gave him the general classification leaders’ red jersey after clocking 13 minutes 27 seconds on the 12.1-kilometre circuit.

His teammates Jay Vine and Mikkel Bjerg filled the second and third spots, two and four seconds behind the winner, respectively.

McNulty was one of the early starters in the time trial after Ineos Grenadiers’ Elia Viviani was first to go.

The 2016 Olympic gold medallist clocked 14.49 but was soon overhauled with McNulty setting up the best time, which remained good until the end.

“Looking at the forecast we thought it was better to start early,” the American said.

“It looked like the wind would pick up a little bit throughout the day. It paid off to start first, I guess.

“Personally, it's been a good race. I wasn't sure how I was feeling. But I had good speed during the whole TT. The team put so much emphasis on the time trial set-up that we have the whole top three.

“It's huge for me. I had my first GC win a couple of weeks ago and now my first World Tour time trial.

“It's hard to say if I will win overall. We have a hard day tomorrow and Jebel Hafeet for the conclusion. Adam Yates [UAE Team Emirates teammate] is always one of the best on this climb so we have a good position as a team.”

Later, at the post-race press conference, McNulty said: “As for myself, I kind of exceeded where I wanted to be, plus the team has done great.

“I could see during my race the speed was really good, so I followed the plan for pacing. I was definitely nervous on hot seat; really anxious I can say but it pays off.

“We knew some good riders were coming at the end, so it’s been a relief when it was all over and I’m super happy.

“The team has put a lot of effort in developing the material, not only for the TT, it’s good to see that it pays off in the time trial.”

McNulty believes the result has given him a lot of confidence ahead of the Paris Olympics.

“After some good results last year, I’ve been trying to focus more on TT than looking at Paris,” he said.

“Having three wins already this year puts me super high but this is another level than Valencia. It’s huge to make the top three as a team, it’s a good performance and show for our sponsors. I don’t think it changes our plans too much. Adam is still our best climber, it’s a good position for all of us.”

Among the other GC contenders, Ilan Van Wilder (Soudal Quick-Step), Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious), Ben O’Connor (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale) and Yates, all finished well in the top 16 and within 30 seconds of McNulty.

Wednesday’s gruelling 176km Ras Al Khaimah Stage 3 from Al Marjan Island to Jebel Jais is the first of the two mountain climbs, and it may see another change in the GC order.

Stage 2 results

1. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates, 13min 27sec

2. Jay Vine (AUS) UAE Team Emirates at 2"

3. Mikkel Bjerg (DEN) UAE Team Emirates) at 4"

General Classification

1. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates

2. Jay Vine (AUS) UAE Team Emirates, at 2"

3. Mikkel Bjerg (DEN) UAE Team Emirates, at 4"

Updated: February 20, 2024, 3:32 PM