In the second two stages of Day One, Team Orion have made big inroads into the field, making up their unlucky deficit after the first kayak prologue stage.
The 30km sprint bike stage around Al Ain predictly turned into a bit of a peloton ride, with a number of top teams including Orion hanging on to Kiwi team Thule, reaching speeds of up to 40km/hour on the flat course (which on knobbly mountain bikes is pretty impressive!). Despite the stage only taking 45 minutes, Thule managed to add a few more minutes to their lead and win the stage, with Orion coming in close behind and moving up to 8th place in the overall rankings.
The next stage included a short mountain run and ropes section, the times haven't been posted yet, but Stu has indicated that they have made up more time to shift up to 4th place overall - not bad after their disastrous start this morning!
Stu Lynch said "All done for Day One - much better this afternoon. We still lost a few minutes to Thule, but are now sitting just behind two other teams in fourth place. Lots of work to do yet, and we are not looking forward to the climb up Jabeel Hafeet on the heavy bikes." (note - because it is very difficult/expensive to take luggage to Abu Dhabi the Race Organisation provides bikes for teams to use during the race - obviously not quite up to the standard of their usual state of the art bikes!) Stu continutes, "The team is in good shape so we will hopefully continue to go well tomorrow."
The teams will camp at the base of Jabeel Hafeet tonight, with a full day of running, biking and ropes tomorrow before they head to the sands of the desert's "Empty quarter".