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“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."

Photo: Sirotti








21.10.2016 @ 20:19 Posted by Andy Pedersen

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) proved to be the smartest sprinter in the peloton on stage 2 of Abu Dhabi Tour. The sprinter’s teams caught the breakaway of the day with under 1km to the finish line.


Italian Elia Viviani (Team Sky) lunched a long sprint while having Cavendish right behind him and Cavendish outsprinted Viviani on the line. Andrea Guardini (Astana) sprinted to third. With the victory on stage 2 Cavendish takes over the red leader’s jersey from yesterday’s winner Giacomo Nizzolo, who finished sixth today.


We have gathered some of the reactions:


Cavendish praises lead out despite being outnumbered

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 said:


“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.”


Viviani: I can only try to get revenge on Sunday

Elia Viviani took a close second place on day two at the Abu Dhabi Tour as the stage came down to a thrilling sprint finish. The Italian opened up his sprint early after Team Sky had pushed hard to shut down the remainder of the day's motivated six-man break. With the catch made with just 500 metres to go, Viviani launched his kick after the combined lead-out efforts of Danny van Poppel, Owain Doull and Andy Fenn. Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) had positioned himself on the Team Sky rider's wheel and was able to edge out his rival at the line, elevating himself into the race lead in the process.


"I can only accept defeat and try to get revenge on Sunday on the final stage," Viviani said after the finish to


"I think we did a really good job today. Yesterday we did a lot of work during the stage but we didn't finish it off. Today we did a perfect job and so the lead-out train was fantastic. Danny van Poppel pulled for two kilometres and lined out the peloton. Then Andy Fenn and Owain Doull put me in the best possible position going into the last corner.”


"Unfortunately Cavendish is back as the best sprinter in the world and it's always dangerous when he's on your wheel. I was hoping he'd be a bit further back but after the corner I saw that was with me and I knew he'd be on my wheel. I tried to produce a progressive sprint all the way to the line and in fact he only came past me right on the line. I can only congratulate him."


Bittersweet Guardini: This was a stage for me

"I'm happy, says Andrea Guardini, “Although there is a hint of regret. It was a sprint for me: short and explosive. I wanted to surprise the others anticipating the sprint, but I found myself facing a man Sky and I had to slow down. It has been fatal. "


Tomorrow, the "queen stage" of this Tour Abu Dhabi 2016 takes place with the arrival at Jebel Hafeet, almost 11 km climb with a maximum gradient of 11%. The Astana SD Paul Slongo aired the plans for the queen stage:


"If he feels good,” commented sport director Paul Slongo. “Vincenzo Nibali will try to win the stage, but also Tanel Kangert can play his cards."


Drucker: If you don’t try you don’t win

Stage 2 of the Abu Dhabi Tour, a flat and short stage of 115km, came down to an expected bunch sprint with Jempy Drucker crossing the line in fifth place. The sprinters’ teams put in a huge effort to chase back and finally made the catch with 400m to go in a nail-biting finish. Drucker was sitting in Cavendish’s wheel and was right up there in the battle for the win.


On the finish line Jempy Drucker said:


“It was good. Once again the guys did a good job to bring me into a good position in the last kilometers. Then I went on my own and I made the good choices. I was in the perfect position but then they slowed down a little bit at 300-250m to go and I said ok I’m going to give it a go. I was in Cavendish’ wheel and he won so maybe it would have been better to stay in his wheel but if you don’t try you can’t win.”


“The finals here are pretty chaotic and there is where I always take some positive points out. I don’t really need a lead out train, I only need some guys to position me in the final kilometers and that works pretty well. We have one more chance for a sprint on stage 4.”


Kolar capitalizes on protected role to catch another top 10 in Abu Dhabi

In a hectic, second bunch sprint in two days at the Abu Dhabi Tour, Michael Kolar was again the team’s highest finisher mixing it with some of the fastest in the peloton to take another top ten. After the break was caught with around 700m remaining, the peloton stormed into the finishing straight and Michael held strong for eighth place.


Sport Director Tristan Hoffman explained the race situation a bit further:


“It was pretty easy for most of the day, starting in front of the hotel and the finish was only 1km from the start, with a long loop around Abu Dhabi between. After 4km six guys were in front and Trek set the tempo behind.”


“Michael was sixth yesterday so Erik Baška and Juraj Sagan helped him again today to get into position. There was a bit of chaos with the break being caught so late but he still managed a good sprint - it’s nice to see him in the top ten again today. The other guys had a safe day ahead of tomorrow where we will see who has the legs on the climb to the finish.”


White jersey wearer Dion Smith extends lead

The flag dropped after 1.5km of neutralised roads and the race was quickly underway. Sam Williams the first rider in the peloton to attack and managed to make the move that stuck, as four other riders escaped from the group to join him. Team mate Dion Smith who was wearing the white young riders jersey, saw a chance to collect additional bonus seconds and accelerated away in pursuit of the five leaders. Riding himself into the breakaway group to form a break of six strong individuals.


After the finish line, White Jersey Dion Smith said: "I tried to increase the lead for the white jersey. The bonuses in the intermediate sprints really came first and I’m glad I gained three seconds on the way. So it was another good day for sure. But I had to keep sprinting really once we got caught in the last kilometer in order to avoid time gaps with the top sprinters. We just had enough of a lead. I kept going as fast as I could and hoped for the best. Tomorrow I’ll try to get in a breakaway again to target more time bonus before the hard finish. I’m not sure if I’ll be right up there but I’ll give it a crack."


Jens Keukeleire is flying at the moment

Belgian Jens Keukeleire animated the breakaway for the second day in succession on stage two of the Abu Dhabi Tour today, extending his lead in the sprint points competition and moving up to third on the general classification.


Mark Cavendish (Dimension-Data) took the stage win and moved into the race lead with Magnus Cort finishing tenth for Orica-BikeExchange as Keukeleire moved up to third overall ahead of tomorrow’s stage three.


“Jens (Keukeleire) is really flying at the moment and it was another close one today,” said Lapage. “We wanted to get into the break to try and get ahead in the intermediate points category and Jens did another fantastic job, he has a good chance of holding onto the jersey until the end of the race now.”


Sport director Laurenzo Lapage was pleased with the performance of the team, especially the tireless efforts of Keukeleire.


“For sure it can be frustrating to be caught so close to the line, the group worked well together today and when there are a few different teams represented in the attack it always makes it harder for the chasers to bring them back. Tomorrow is a tough stage, we did the climb last year and it is challenging. Carlos Verona is in good shape and highly motivated to do well, he had a good result here in 2015 and we hope we can put him in a good position to have a chance to challenge on the climb tomorrow.”


Black Jersey Jens Keukeleire said: "When there is an opportunity, it would be a shame to not try and defend a jersey so I went into the breakaway again with the black jersey in mind and I won the two intermediate sprints I was targeting. It was another good day. I’ve also believed in the last ten kilometers that we would make it to the finish and thought that possibly I was the fastest man of the front group but everybody was at the limit in the last 25km. It’s really hard to make a breakaway survive till the end."


Bad positioning took out Degenkolb from the sprint

The early break of six riders, eventually just five at the end, built up a lead over 2’30” during the stage before digging deep to hold off the chase from the peloton. Coming into the final 10km their advantage was still 1’30”, causing panic in the peloton behind. Despite a hard chase, with Tobias Ludvigsson and Martijn Tusveld adding to the firepower, the break very nearly held on, only being caught inside the final kilometre before a messy sprint unfolded.


“Since John felt good yesterday, we decided to take our share of responsibility in controlling the break, and because the break rode a really smart and strong race it became very close at the end of the stage,” explained Coach Mattias Reck after the finish. “John wasn’t able to make it to the top positions right in the final when the break was caught close to the finish and so no result was possible today. We now look forward to Sunday where we have one last sprint opportunity.”




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