Manxman suffered a rear puncture with 4km to go, but still sprinted to third

After admitting that he might not be in top form at the Dubai Tour, Mark Cavendish was happy with third place on the opening stage, especially after having to ride the final four kilometres with a flat rear tyre.

Cavendish hit a pothole as the stage entered its final stages, with the mechanical meaning that he struggled through the last few hundred metres on paving slabs and was unable to come around Marcel Kittel and Dylan Groenewegen in the sprint for the line.

However Cavendish was sanguine after the stage, writing on Twitter that he was happy with his podium placing, and pleased with the work of his Dimension Data team-mates who put him in an excellent position on Groenewegen’s wheel for the sprint.

The 31-year-old Manxman will be hoping for better luck in the three remaining sprint stages of the race, with a chance to pick up his first victory of the season on tomorrow’s flat stage.