Mark Cavendish finished a very close third on stage one of the United Arab Emirates Tour earlier today (Monday).

The 151 kilometre stage began at Al Dhafra Castle and finished in Al Mirfa, a coastal community located in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi.

The 12-man sprint was won in a photo finish by Tim Merlier (Soudal - Quick Step) from Australia’s Caleb Ewan (Lotto Dstiny), with Mark a faction behind him in his best finish to date for the Astana Qazaqstan Team.

Fourth was Olav Kooij of Jumbo-Visma. Cav’s team-mate Cees Bol was 10th.

Hotly tipped Sam Bennett (BORA - hansgrohe) finished 13th, 51s behind the lead group.

Stage two is the short 17.3km team time trial this morning at Khalifa Port. The UAE Tour consists of seven stages in total.

Lizzie Holden (UAE Team ADQ) finished 53rd and fellow Manxie Becky Storrie 76th on the and final stage of the Setmana Ciclista-Volta Comunitat Valenciana Fèmines.

The overall victory went to Justine Ghekiere (AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step), who finished second behind stage winner Elise Uijen (Team DSM) in a two-up sprint into Gandia on the east coast of Spain.

Sam Brand (Team Novo Nordisk) is riding the Tour du Rwanda from next Sunday. He turns 32 on the second day of the Tour.

Max Walker (Trinity Racing) is riding the O Gran Camiño in Spain from Thursday to Sunday.

l More cycling in this week’s Manx Independent.