Cavendish’s Etixx-QuickStep squad had controlled the stage throughout its 145 kilometres, with the British sprinter finishing things off after a long effort to the line.
Elia Viviani (Sky) placed third.
It’s Cavendish’s second victory of the year after he won a stage of the Tour de San Luis in Argentina in January. Cavendish will wear the Dubai Tour race leader’s jersey going into Thursday’s stage two.
Pictures from the opening stage of the 2015 Dubai Tour, won by Mark Cavendish. Photos by Graham Watson
The day’s escape group consisted of Rafael Valls (Lampre-Merida), Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani-CSF), Alessandro Bazzana (UnitedHealthcare), Nicolas Lefrancois (Novo Nordisk) and Vladimir Gusev (Skydive Dubai).
The five riders were never given more than a minute and a half’s grace, with Etixx-QuickStep and Giant-Alpecin leading the peloton for sprinters Cavendish and Luka Mezgec. The break was caught with 20km to go.
Shortly after the catch was made, an intermediate sprint at the 16km-to-go mark livened up the proceedings, with Ben Swift (Sky) crossing the line ahead of Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff-Saxo) to grab the points and bonus seconds on offer to end the day in fourth spot overall and in the intermediate sprint jersey.
Dubai Tour 2015, stage one: Dubai International Marine Club to Union House Flag, 145km
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Etixx-QuickStep in 3-25-00
2. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana
3. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky
4. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha
5. Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar
6. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Giant-Alpecin
7. Andrea Palini (Ita) Skydive Dubai
8. Paolo Simion (Ita) Bardiani
9. Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing
10. Martij Verschoor (Ned) Novo-Nordisk all same time
Overall classification after stage one
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Etixx-QuickStep
2. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana at 4 secs
3. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky at 6 secs
4. Ben Swift (GBr) Sky at 7 secs
5. Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare at same time
6. Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo at 8 secs
7. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani CSF at 8 secs
8. Rafael Valls (Spa) Lampre-Merida at 9 secs
9. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha at 10 secs
10. Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar at 10 secs