Italian sprinter Elia Viviani tops off his successful 2018 Dubai Tour with a win on the final stage as well as the overall victory

Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) wrapped up the 2018 Dubai Tour on Saturday with a final stage victory to seal his overall win in the race.

The Italian shot past Marco Haller (Katusha-Alpecin) and Adam Blythe (Aqua Sport Blue) to win the stage, emerging late and from a considerable way behind to pip both on the line.

It was a chaotic final sprint, after Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) fell on a tight right-hand corner heading into the final straight, holding up Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) among others.

A group of about a dozen riders broke clear at the front following the crash, lead by a Cofidis teammate of Bouhanni’s, who continued his lead out despite glancing over his shoulder several times to try and locate his leader.

When he sat up, Katusha-Alpecin’s Rick Zabel hit the front in an apparent attempt to lead out Marcel Kittel, but a messy finish meant that Haller ended up sprinting for the line instead.

Haller and Jean Pierre Drucker (BMC) appeared to be in a two-man race to the finish line, until Viviani appeared from nowhere to lunge ahead of them just in time.

Blythe rode in his slipstream to finish third, his highest placement in the race this year.

The result also means that Magnus Cort Nielsen (Astana) and Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) defend their second and third place positions on the GC. Despite being caught up in the crash, no time counted as the incident occurred within the final 3km.

Viviani nevertheless extended his lead to 12 and 14 seconds over them, thanks to the ten bonus seconds awarded at the line.

>>> Dubai Tour 2018: Latest news, reports and race info

How it happened
Nathan Van Hooydonck (BMC) attempted to defend his lead in the intermediate sprint competition by getting into the break, but, at just seven seconds adrift in the overall GC, was not allowed to get up the road.

When the break was established, it consisted of Daniel Pearson (Aqua Sport Blue), Quentin Valognes (Novo-Nordisk), Nasser Almemari (United Arab Emirates) and Sun Xiaolong (Mitchelton-BikeExchange.

The quartet rode well together and built a lead of several minutes.

Sun won the first intermediate sprint ahead of Valognes, but the latter was permitted by his breakaway companions to roll through uncontested at the second intermediate sprint, and therefore seal victory in that competition ahead of overnight leader Nathan Van Hooydonck (BMC).

With the peloton bearing down on the break, Pearson struck out alone with around 25km to go.

His lead was reduced to just a matter of seconds with little over 10km left to ride, prompting a counter-attack from the Mitchelton-BikeExchange duo Jacob Hennessey and Robert Stannard.

They hung on until 3.5km to the line, when the sprinters’ trains set up the final dash to the line.

Many of the riders taking part in the Dubai Tour will stay in the Middle East for the Abu Dhabi Tour (February 21-25), a five-day WorldTour race with three opening flat stages for sprinters, a time trial and a mountain stage.

Result

Dubai Tour 2018, stage five: Skydive Dubai to City Walk, 132km
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
2. Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-Alpecin
3. Adam Blythe (GBr) Aqua Blue Sport
4. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing
5. Rik Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
6. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
7. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
8. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Astana
9. Andrea Peron (Ita) Novo Nordisk
10. Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Quick-Step Floors, all same time

Final general classification
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
2. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Astana Pro, at 12 secs
3. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, at 14 secs
4. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing, at 24 secs
5. Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin, at 24 secs
6. Nathan Van Hooydonck(Bel) BMC Racing, at 27 secs
7. Loïc Vliegen (Bel) BMC Racing, at 28 secs
8. Timo Roosen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 30 secs
9. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing, at 34 secs
10. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin, at 38 secs