Marcel Kittel (Quickstep-Floors) won the 2nd stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour, taking the win right on the line from Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) with our race leader, Mark Cavendish completing the stage podium in 3rd place. Cavendish also retained the overall race lead heading into tomorrow’s climbing stage.
The 2nd stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour took riders on a 153km trip around Abu Dhabi with another sprint showdown taking place at the Al Marina. After winning yesterday’s stage it was up to Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka to control the early 6-rider breakaway and it was Igor Anton and Johann van Zyl who took on this responsibility for our African Team.
With a number of sprint teams also interested in the chase, there was no lack of support to keep the escapees within touching distance. With 10km to go, the writing was on the wall for the attackers and the sprint finale began to unfold. Once again Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka left its leadout late, only moving to the front with 2km to go. Bernie Eisel, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Mark Renshaw and Cavendish was the order.
Our African Team came under strong competition from the Orica-Scott today and they were just able to nudge ahead in the final 700m. Cavendish latched on to the wheel of Ewan and looked to be in prime position. As Cavendish made his push for the line down the left, Ewan was able to hold good speed. The Aussie thought he had it and as he sat up to raise his arms in salute, Kittel snuck under his right arm to take the victory. Cavendish had to settle for 3rd place but kept the overall race lead.
Roger Hammond – Sport Director
The guys did a great job. Igor rode his heart out on the front and I think the team rode really well today. We said we wanted Mark in 3rd position in the last corner and that’s where he was. Just with the way the sprint finish ended up going, he ended up having to go down the windy side and that hindered him a little bit on the finishing straight but otherwise, another great day where the guys set up Mark perfectly for the final. Overall we really pleased but obviously disappointed with 3rd place, which is not a bad place to be in.