Dubai Tour #2: Mark Cavendish nets 4th in sprint finale

Elia Viviani (Quickstep) won the 2nd stage of the Dubai Tour, sprinting to victory ahead of the fast-finishing Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo). Riccardo Minali (Astana) rounded out the stage podium with Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s Mark Cavendish in 4th.

Stage 2 of the Dubai Tour was the longest of the race at 191km, with riders making their way from Skydive Dubai to Ras al Khaimah. Once again the profile offered up very little in terms of undulations and so the flat route leaned itself to the sprinters. An early break of 6 riders had no chance of surviving and were caught with 10km to go.

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka went head to head with the sprint trains of Quickstep and Katusha over the final 8km’s, all jostling for position. Our African Team had all 6 riders lined up ahead of Cavendish, doing their turn to keep our sprinter positioned for the final.

It was a fast run-in on open roads, meaning  all the trains were constantly surging back and forth as teammates swung off one by one. With the need for teammates to lay down so much power just to stay in front, most sprinters actually found themselves without their last leadout man in the final kilometer.

Cavendish, who was also freelancing in the finale, was slightly further back than he might have liked with 400m to go. The Manxman took the initiative and jumped early down the left when a gap opened. Viviani responded and the Italian was able to edge ahead as the line approached. Groenewegen came down the right and finished with the most speed but it would be 2nd for him today, although the Dutchman keeps the overall race lead.

Rolf Aldag – Sport Director 

Mark was next to Viviani but in the end eased up when he saw he wasn’t going to pass him. Maybe 2nd was possible but we are aiming for the win. It is early in the season though so at least today shows we are there, we are in the competition and have a chance to win. I think that is what we can take from today.