Belgium's Jasper Philipsen came out on top in the first stage of the UAE Tour ©Getty Images

Belgium's Jasper Philipsen triumphed on the first day of the seven-stage UAE Tour, the opening leg of the International Cycling Union (UCI) WorldTour season.

The Alpecin-Fenix rider triumphed in a sprint at the end of a 184-kilometre first stage which started and finished in Madinat Zayed.

Philipsen clocked 4 hours 42min 34sec to take the red jersey, with Ireland and Bora-Hansgrohe's Sam Bennett coming through in second and Italy and Ineos Grenadiers' Elia Viviani third.

As well as the general classification, Philipsen also leads the points and best young rider standings at this early stage.

Philipsen's 10-second bonus gives him a four-second advantage over Bennett and Dmitrii Strakhov in the general classification.

The stage winner was pleased with his start to the UCI WorldTour campaign.

"This victory makes this a really great start to the season," Philipsen said.

"Everything went perfectly.

"We had a tailwind at the end.

"When it’s a headwind, you can gamble and come later, but today we knew the speed was high.

"I'm happy we could find a gap, so I could sprint as I wanted.

"To be first on the line was a great feeling.

"I started my career with UAE Team Emirates but I couldn’t race here until I changed team in order to focus more on sprinting and riding the classics.

"It's a great race here with a very high level of sprinters.

"It's important to start the season well in the UAE."

Russian breakaway rider Strakhov, riding for riding for Gazprom-Rusvelo, holds the black jersey having won both intermediate sprints, and sits third in the general classification having placed 90th overall.

The defending champion Tadej Pogačar of Slovenia and UAE Team Emirates crossed the finish line in 24th place.

Tomorrow's 176km flat stage is set to run from Hudayriyat Island to Abu Dhabi Breakwater.