Marcel Kittel took his first scalp of the season over sprint rival Mark Cavendish at the Dubai Tour today easily winning the second stage.
A dead turn in the final three kilometres and a cross tailwind made the finish less than textbook but Kittel (Giant-Shimano) was in the right position within the final 500m around where Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) got lost.
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The 25 year old raised a relaxed arm as he crossed the line ahead of Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and race leader Taylor Phinney (BMC) who, having worked on his sprinting legs during the pre-season, placed a noteworthy third.
“My team did a great job with bringing me into position. On the last 500-600m I had to look a bit for my own way,” Kittel said post-race.
“I could wait on the wheel of Taylor Phinney until 200-250m and then start my sprint. I’m very happy and very proud how we worked for the win today. It was windy and there was a lot of sand also.”
Phinney’s BMC team controlled affairs at the front of the peloton throughout the race that saw Francisco Mancebo (SkyDive Dubai), South African Willie Smit (Vini Fantini-Nippo) and Diogo Nunes (Banco BIC) comprise the main break of the day, which was caught with about 10km to go.
The second stage was billed as the first face-off between Kittel, Cavendish, and their respective sprint trains, since the Tour de France last season where for the former barnstormed to four victories. Cavendish’s teammate and reprised chief pilot Mark Renshaw recently highlighted the importance of the inaugural UAE event to his team.
However, F1 star and prospective cycling team owner Fernando Alonso stole some of the limelight at the start of the stage where he was snapped talking to riders including off-contract Sagan.
The Dubai Tour continues tomorrow with a 162km run from Dubai to Hatte.
Dubai Tour 2014, stage two: Dubai to Palm Jumeirah, 122km
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Giant-Shimano 2-50-30
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
3. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC
4. Juan Jose Lobato (Esp) Movistar
5. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek
6. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
7. Nikolav Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo
8. Sebastian Haedo (Arg) SkyDive Dubai
9. Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Astana
10. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Sharp
Overall classification after stage two
1. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC 3-03-32
2. Steve Cummings (GBr) BMC at 15 secs
3. Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Garmin-Sharp at 17 secs
4. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 23 secs
5. Fabian Cancellara (Sui) Trek at 26 secs
6. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale at 30 secs
7. Adriano Malori (Ita) Movistar at 33 secs
8. Macjej Bodnar (Pol) Cannondale at 36 secs
9. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha
10. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Giant-Shimano
Taylor Phinney wins Dubai Tour stage one time trial