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Cavendish had plenty of speed to come around Viviani, while Guardini was the best of the rest in third. Cavendish takes the race lead on bonus seconds.

Photo: Sirotti




21.10.2016 @ 15:58 Posted by Joseph Doherty

After being criticised and told he was slowing down in 2015, Mark Cavendish has proved in 2016 that he is still the world’s top sprinter. The Manxman took four Tour stages before finally getting his hands on Olympic Silver at the Omnium in Rio. Last week, he just missed out on a second World Road Race title, but managed to come away with something from his trip to the Middle East after he took stage two of the Abu Dhabi Tour.


The first attack of the day came from Jan Polanc (Lampre-Merida), Stanislau Bazhkou (Minsk), Dion Smith and Sam Williams (ONE), Jens Keukeleire (Orica-BikeExchange) and Eugert Zhupa (Willier-Southeast) and the peloton instantly sat up, allowing the group to gain a lead of two minutes.


Trek-Segafredo, Dimension Data and Giant-Alpecin were the teams in charge of brininging the break to heel, and they quickly had the sextet’s advantage down to under a minute.


However, the break fought back as there was a lull in the peloton, and Bazkhou was shed from the front. The gap at just 15km to go was 1:47 and the break looked like they may just hold on.


Kiel Reijnen of Trek, Michal Kwiatkowski of Sky and CCC’s leader Davide Rebellin traded massive turns at the front but they were still behind the break under the flamme rouge, although the break’s gap was small.


At 850m to go, the break was caught and it was Sky leading the bunch home. Andy Fenn was first for the British squad into the final corner and teammate Elia Viviani launched his sprint and hit the front with just 150m to go.


This was the first time Cavendish had faced Viviani in a direct sprint since Viviani beta him at the Olympics and despite losing leadout man Mark Renshaw, the Dimension Data rider had enough in the tank to come round the Italian and take his first win since the Tour de France. Astana fast man Andrea Guardini completed the podium. 


Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) entered the stage as the leader of the race following yesterday’s win but he could only manage sixth on the day, so Cavendish takes over the race lead with a four second bonus thanks to his third place yesterday and Jens Keukeliere’s bonus seconds leaves him third at five seconds. Tomorrow’s queen stage is all about the climbers, with the summit finish on Jabel Hafeet. Aside from Jan Hirt (CCC), who lost time yesterday, all the best climbers in the peloton are on the same time, meaning a showdown on the steep slopes is guaranteed to be a spectacle.




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