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"Cavendish started from afar and did a great sprint. I tried to pass him and lost the battle. Then Andrea finished strongly on the right but I'm happy with this third place. It is a good starting point."

Photo: Sirotti






04.02.2015 @ 17:22 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Elia Viviani sprinted to third place on stage one at the Dubai Tour as the stage race got off to a rapid start.


Team Sky rode hard in the closing stages to not only set up the sprint for Viviani, but propel Ben Swift to three bonus seconds on the run for home.


Viviani kicked early and attached himself to the wheel of stage winner Mark Cavendish (Etixx – Quick-Step) in the final metres. Unable to pull out from the Manxman’s slipstream, the Italian was edged into third by a fast-finishing Andrea Guardini (Astana).


The pace was upped significantly inside 25km to go as Team Sky hit the front with numbers and shut down the rapidly diminishing advantage of the day’s breakaway.


That opened the door for Swift at the second intermediate sprint, with the Yorkshireman benefiting from a great show of teamwork to bag three bonus seconds. Bernhard Eisel shut down a late move with Swift locked onto his wheel, while Viviani sat up in behind to create a gap. The effort allowed Swift to claim the intermediate sprint jersey.


The 145km opening test always looked like one for the sprinters and Cavendish now takes a four-second lead over Guardini into stage two, with Viviani and Swift six and seven seconds back respectively.


"I felt good in the peloton and the sprint was also good," Viviani told Tuttobiciweb. "Cavendish started from afar and did a great sprint. I tried to pass him and lost the battle. Then Andrea finished strongly on the right but I'm happy with this third place. It is a good starting point."


After the stage Sports Director Dario Cioni described the stage and the decision to target the intermediate sprint.


"The boys did a good job today," he confirmed. "We went for the intermediate sprint and I don't think anyone really expected that. We had spoken about it before the race and if the breakaway was just up the road we would go for it. We weren't going to commit from a long way out but the break were just 30 seconds away. 


"It was a good move from Ben and he's now got the intermediate sprints jersey. But more importantly he's got a three-second bonus. That could be helpful come the third stage. That stage is a bit of a question mark and no one is really sure how it is going to play out. But it's better to have options and be in a good position than not at all.


"In the final we had the lead-out for Elia. He was up there with top sprinters. Obviously we know all about Mark and Guardini is also really good on this type of finish. Elia was right there with them and I think we did a good job to set him up."



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