The 2nd stage of the Dubai Tour was a crash affected affair that Elia Viviani (Team Sky) would win. Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) was in 2nd place and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) finished 3rd.
Four riders would animate today’s stage, Koen De Kort (Giant Alpecin), Marcin Bialoblocki (One Pro), Francisco Mancebo (Skydive) and Silvain Dillier (BMC) were the attackers. As all well-known riders, with a fair amount of firepower, the peloton were not going to allow this quartet all that much breathing space. 2 minutes would be the limit to their advantage today as Etixx-Quickstep and Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were the two most prominent teams leading the chase.
Songezo Jim was the rider from our African Team seen to be doing a large majority of the early chase work, in order to set up a sprint for Mark Cavendish. At just 2 minutes’ lead, it would be a long hard day in the desert for the break before they were caught with 10km to go. Once the catch was made, a number of teams rallied at the front of the peloton to position their sprinters.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were riding alongside Etixx-Quickstep leading into the final 5km, well positioned for the finale. Some bumping and barging saw our boys lose each other’s wheels which put Cav a few places back. With 2km to go the race went through a kilometer-long tunnel, and on emerging there was a crash at the front of the bunch. Fortunately, none of our riders went down but Cav, already coming from a few places back had to close a gap to get back to the wheel of Guardini. As the sprint opened up at the front, our fast man just wasn’t in a position to challenge for the win, rolling across the line in 10th place today.
Songezo Jim – Rider
The plan is clear; we are going for Cav every day. Today the crash in the final messed with our plans a bit. Cav is looking really good though and we are going to keep on trying, tomorrow is another day and another chance.
Jens Zemke – Sport Director
The boys did a good job for most of the stage today. Songezo was helping Quickstep from about halfway through the race, controlling the break and keeping them on a short hand. The final was a bit messy, they had to change the last 5 kilometers because of road works and the finish now took place just 1 kilometer after coming out of a kilometer-long tunnel. This made things a bit tricky and in the end we weren’t able to deliver the top result today.