Giacomo Nizzolo only needed to finish second to Marcel Kittel on the final stage of the Dubai Tour to win the general classification, but the Italian lost position in the final kilometre to hand the overall win to the German sprinter.
Kittel beat Team Sky's Elia Viviani and Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) to the line under the Burj Khalifa, with Nizzolo trailing in sixth.
By crossing the line first, Kittel picked up the bonus seconds he needed to leapfrog Juan Jose Lobato (Movistar) and Nizzolo and win the race by four seconds
As the stage hit its final kilometres Wiggins rider Mark Christian, part of the day's six-man breakaway, tried his chances on his own with 14km to go, but the flat course and the marauding sprint trains behind him meant he was caught a couple of kilometres later.
Tinkoff and Astana took up the early work as the sprinters set themselves up, but soon the likes of Etixx-Quick Step, Trek-Segafredo and Dimension Data moved to the front.
Etixx hit the front with just over a kilometre to go, with Trek keenly on their tail. Fabian Cancellara put in a turn at the front but his leader Nizzolo lost position in the group, forcing the team to cede their position in order to find him.
Nizzolo, in the leader's blue jersey, could only watch as Kittel, in the sprinter's red jersey, sailed to the line and took the overall title from his grasp.
It was Kittel's first stage race win since the Delta Tour Zeeland way back in 2011, and with two wins already in 2016 the German has eclipsed his total from the disastrous 2015 season.
Dubai Tour stage four, Dubai-Burj Khalifa (137km)
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Etixx-Quick Step, 2-50-47
2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky, st
3. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data, st
4. Andrea Palini (Ita) Skydive Dubai, st
5. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida, st
6. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, st
7. Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Etixx-Quick Step, st
8. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo, st
9. Erik Baska (Svk) Tinkoff, st
10. Yanto Barker (GBr) One Pro Cycling
Final overall classification
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Etixx-Quick Step, 14-46-54
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, at 4s
3. Juan Jose Lobato (Esp) Movistar, at 6s
4. Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC, at 16s
5. Gorka Izagirre (Esp) Movistar, at 23s
6. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC, at 25s
7. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek-Segafredo, st
8. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff, at 28s
9. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Sprandi, st
10. Soufiane Haddi (Mor) Skydive Dubai, at 29s
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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.
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