Mark Cavendish showed his class on stage 2 of the Abu Dhabi Tour by sprinting to the stage win and into the overall race leaders jersey in Abu Dhabi. Elia Viviani (Team Sky) finished in 2nd place and Andrea Gaurdini (Astana) was 3rd.
It was a short stage that greeted the Abu Dhabi Tour peloton on stage 2 with only 115km to be raced around the city streets of Abu Dhabi. Once again an early breakaway ramped up the speed of the stage with 6 riders going clear. As was the case yesterday, our African Team placed Mekseb Debesay on the front of the peloton from early on and the Eritrean went on to do a fantastic job today controlling the gap.
Working together with Giant-Alpecin and Trek-Segafredo, our African Team was able to keep the gap under the 3-minute mark. One would have thought that the other sprint teams would have then been interested in giving their fast men a chance at the win by contributing to the chase, but it was not to be. This nearly saw the leaders survive to the finish but thanks to the strength and persistence of Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, Giant-Alpecin and Trek-Segafredo the leaders were caught with 1km to go.
Team Sky and CCC Sprandi used fresh legs to lead out the sprint with their numbers advantage but Mark Renshaw did a fantastic job to bring Mark Cavendish into position at 300m to go. From there the Manxman could slip onto the wheel of Viviani just before the final right hand bend. Viviani hit out with the line in sight but Cavendish was able to come off his wheel with more speed and surged ahead to take a fine win.
The stage win saw Mark Cavendish move into the overall race lead as well as into the lead in the points jersey competition, after his 3rd place during yesterday’s stage.
Mark Cavendish – Rider
I am really happy with today, to get the win after going so close yesterday. It was touch and go as to whether the break would be caught but the team rode hard up front. Mark gave me a good leadout, it was only going to be difficult because we didn’t have the full team at the end. Mark got me onto Sky before the last corner which was perfect because I was able to come around Elia Viviani to get the win.