Elia Viviani says his team “want to show we can beat everyone” as he took victory on stage five of the UAE Tour.
The Italian national champion denied his most dangerous rival in 2019, Fernando Gaviria, to take his third WorldTour victory of the season.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Viviani opened his sprint late but showed his class in a thrilling final that saw four riders hit the line together.
Speaking after the stage, the 30-year-old said: “The boys did an amazing job again. They really want to demonstrate we can beat everyone. Today worked really well, like always.
“It was a good picture for the finish with four sprinters on the line.
“I’m really proud to win this sprint.”
Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) was the first man to fully open up on the dash for the line, but Viviani chose the perfect time and powered around the Colombian from the right side.
After narrowly missing out on the first sprint of the race on stage two, which went to Gaviria, Viviani adds to his wins at the Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
Viviani added: “We knew it was going to be a fast sprint and that means it’s not a clear sprint like the first day.
“I thought I didn’t have time to jump everyone, but in the last 30 metres I came past faster.
“Today we changed tactic, but every sprint is different.
“[Alexander Kristoff, UAE Team Emirates] anticipated us on the left and that caused all the sprinters to come up so it wasn’t a clear sprint. Then, when we were all in one line I just waited, didn’t panic and picked a good moment to go.
“Our tactic was a proper lead-out, but short and fast.”
On why he didn’t win on the opening sprint of the race, Viviani said: “Nothing went badly in the first sprint
“I just couldn’t jump, [Gaviria] was faster.”
There is one remaining chance for the fast men in the inaugural edition of the Middle East stage race – day seven is a pan-flat 145km dash around Dubai.