German opens his season in spectacular style

Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) kicked off his season in sublime fashion with a powerful sprint victory on stage one of the Dubai Tour.

The German is the defending champion in the race, and showed great early season form to deliver a comprehensive victory ahead of Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data).

His victory came after hard work for much of the stage from his Quick-Step Floors team-mates, who were ever-present on the front of the peloton as they controlled the break, before dropping Kittel off in the perfect position with 150m to as Groenewegen and Cavendish were not even able to come out of the 28-year-old’s slipsteam.

Cavendish however did reportedly suffer from a puncture to his rear wheel in the final 3km, but still managed to hold on to a podium finish.

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The break of the day consisted of five riders: Daniel Pearson (Aqua Blue Sport), Nicola Boem (Bardiani-CSF), Silvan Dillier (BMC Racing), Tom Stewart (One Pro Cycling) and Matteo Bono (UAE-Abu Dhabi).

Those riders escaped within the first 10km of the 181km, quickly building up an advantage of nearly four minutes. That gap held steady for the first hour and a half of racing, but was then slowly chipped away at, dropping under a minute with 50km remaining as Quick-Step Floors and Dimension Data worked to set up a sprint for Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish.

Boem dropped back to the peloton after the final intermediate sprint, but the gap to the break remained steady at around 50 seconds with the group behind unwilling to make the catch.

The break was eventually caught with exactly 10km remaining, with Luxembourgish champion Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors) working hard on the front of the peloton, as he had done for much of the previous 50km.

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With 5km to go it was Dimension Data who took to the front of the peloton, with Bernhard Eisel and Ryan Gibbons working hard to position Mark Cavendish.

However the South African team were overhauled by Quick-Step Floors, who perfectly set up Marcel Kittel for his first win of the season, and his first win riding a disc brake bike, with Dylan Groenewegen and Cavendish not even able to come out of Kittel’s wheel.

Results

Dubai Tour 2017, stage one: DIMC to Palm Jumeirah, 181km

1. Marcel Kittel (GER) Quick-Step Floors, in 4-06-33
2. Dylan Groenewegen (NED) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
3. Mark Cavendish (GBR) Dimension Data
4. John Degenkolb (GER) Trek-Segafredo
5. Sacha Modolo (ITA) UAE Abu Dhabi
6. Elia Viviani (ITA) Team Sky
7. Jean-Pierre Drucker (LUX) BMC Racing
8. Simone Consonni (ITA) UAE Abu Dhabi
9. Steele Von Hoff (AUS) One Pro Cycling
10. Adam Blythe (GBR) Aqua Blue Sport, all same time

General classification after stage one

1. Marcel Kittel (GER) Quick-Step Floors, in 4-06-33
2. Nicola Boem (ITA) Bardiani-CSF, at 3 secs
3. Dylan Groenewegen (NED) Team LottoNL-Jumbo, at 4s
4. Tom Stewart (GBR) One Pro Cycling, st
5. Mark Cavendish (GBR) Dimension Data, at 6s
6. Silvan Dillier (SUI) BMC Racing, st
7. John Degenkolb (GER) Trek-Segafredo, at 10s
8. Sacha Modolo (ITA) UAE Abu Dhabi
9. Elia Viviani (ITA) Team Sky
10. Jempy Drucker (LUX) BMC Racing, all same time