One year after winning Stage 2 of the Dubai Tour at Palm Jumeirah in front of the magnificent Atlantis hotel, Italian sprinter Elia Viviani of Team Sky repeated his victory as he edged out his compatriots Sacha Modolo (Lampre – Merida), Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek – Segafredo) and Andrea Guardini (Astana Pro Team). He also succeeded Marcel Kittel (Etixx – Quick Step) in the lead of the overall classification on the eve of the queen stage to Hatta Dam.
Four riders contested most of the race at the front: Francisco Manchebo (Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team – Al Ahli Club), Koen de Kort (Team Giant – Alpecin), Silvan Dillier (BMC Racing Team) and Marcin Bialoblocki (One Pro Cycling). The latter won all intermediate sprints to claim the dedicated UAE flag jersey.
Manchebo forged on with 16km to go as the peloton was right behind him. He knew he’d get caught, especially because the breakaway was always kept under control with a gap of less than two minutes. The Spanish veteran was reeled in with 12km to go. British teams One Pro Cycling and Team Wiggins were the most active at the head of the peloton in the last 10km. Sir Bradley Wiggins himself sped up from 3 to 2km to go to stretch the bunch. A crash occurred at the exit of a tunnel 1km before the line but with minor consequences. Perfectly led out by Team Sky and ultimately Ben Swift at the end, Viviani took his first victory of the year on the same waterfront that looks like a springboard for another successful season.
1 – Elia Viviani (TEAM SKY) 183km in 4h07’39”, average speed 44.336km/h
2 – Sacha Modolo (LAMPRE – MERIDA) s.t.
3 – Giacomo Nizzolo (TREK – SEGAFREDO) s.t.
•The Blue Jersey, sponsored by Commercial Bank of Dubai (General
individual classification by time) – Elia Viviani (Team Sky)
•The Red Jersey, sponsored by Emirates (General individual classification by points) – Elia Viviani (Team Sky)
•The White Jersey, sponsored by RTA – Roads and Transport Authority (Best Young Rider born after 1 January 1991) – Soufiane Haddi (Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team – Al Ahli Club)
•The UAE Flag Jersey, sponsored by DHA – Dubai Health Authority (Intermediate Sprint Jersey Classification) – Marcin Bialoblocki (One Pro Cycling)
1 – Elia Viviani (Team Sky)
2 – Marcel Kittel (Etixx – Quick Step) s.t.
3 – Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek – Segafredo) at 2″
Elia Viviani In His Own Words:
“Yesterday I opened my sprint too early and was left alone with no team-mate with 1km to go. I’m less fast than sprinters like Kittel and Cavendish, so to have a chance to beat them, I need everything to be perfect. We spoke about what went wrong last night and we rode perfectly as a team today. My lead out was excellent. Today’s stage was contested at a slower pace than yesterday’s and I was in an ideal position when the gap was closed onto the breakaway riders. This finale suits me. I won here last year as well. It’s beautiful to begin the year with a victory in Dubai.”
Stage 3 – The Westin Stage (172km)
Sign-on procedures: 9.30-10.45am
Start – KM 0: 11.05am (transfer 6,100m)
Finish: Approx. 3.15pm
Race Headquarters: DIMC – Dubai International Marine Club – Mina Seyahi, Al Sofouh Road, Al Seyahi Street, Dubai, U.A.E.
It’s the hardest stage of Dubai tour, 172km on a course which replicates almost entirely the inaugural edition stage, with the addition of the harder final climb of Hatta Dam, as experienced in 2015. It’s characterized by long stretches in the desert crossing the two neighboring Emirates of Sharjah and Ras-al-Khaimah. Once it has left the last buildings in Dubai, the stage will touch Labab, Al Madam and Al Malahia on the road to Hatta where, before facing the finale, riders will face two climbs, the second with peaks of 11% and a fast and challenging downhill. The final section then includes climbs before the riders reach the Hatta Dam.
The final 3km of continuous ascent include some sharp bends leading to the final climb towards the Dam: a short, sharp rise of about 200m, with gradients ranging from 12% to 17%. The home stretch is 150m long, on a 5m-wide asphalted roadway.