Where: Dubai, United Arab Emirates When: February 6-10 2018 Rank: UCI Asia Tour 2.HC
Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) won the General Classification at the 2018 Dubai Tour.
Viviani won the sprint on stages two and five, initially moving into the lead when stage one winner Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) was docked 20 seconds for drafting a team car within the final 70km of stage three.
Viviani finished the race with two stage wins to his name, Groenewegen, Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) and Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) all had one.
The race is organized by Dubai Sports Council in partnership with RCS Sport and Events JLT.
Final general classification
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
2. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Astana Pro, at 12 secs
3. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, at 14 secs
4. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing, at 24 secs
5. Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin, at 24 secs
6. Nathan Van Hooydonck(Bel) BMC Racing, at 27 secs
7. Loïc Vliegen (Bel) BMC Racing, at 28 secs
8. Timo Roosen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 30 secs
9. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing, at 34 secs
10. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin, at 38 secs
Dubai Tour 2018: Stage Five
Elia Viviani wins the final stage of the 2018 Dubai Tour
Elia Viviani (Quick Step Floors) won the final stage of the Dubai Tour, cementing his overall victory.
Viviani had the jump on Marco Haller (Katusha-Alpecin) and Adam Blythe (Aqua Sport Blue), surging for the line and making up considerable ground to take the win.
The final sprint finish was a chaotic one, with Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) coming a cropper on a right right-hand corner close to the line, holding up Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) and others. Following the crash, around a dozen riders broke clear, and it was Viviani who proved himself to be the fastest.
Sonny Colbrelli wins stage four of the 2018 Dubai Tour. Image: Yuzuru Sunada
Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) was the winner of stage four, having been perfectly set up by his team going in to the one kilometre final climb before powering to the finish.
Magnus Cort Nielsen (Astana) took second place, and Timo Roosen (LottoNL-Jumbo) was third.
Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) crossed the line sixth, maintaining his lead of the General Classification.
An earlier break group was reduced to just three riders with 40km to go. Within the trio was Brandon McNulty (Rally Cycling) – he eventually chipped off the front of group, settling into time trial mode and almost reaching the line alone. However, come Hatta Dam final ramp, he notably slowed down, only to be caught by the approaching peloton.
Colbrelli led the group to the finish line, McNulty finishing outside the top ten.
The third stage of the Dubai Tour was a win for Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) – no doubt a relief to the Manxman who was pushed into fourth the previous day and out of contention on stage one.
Strong winds characterised the earlier part of the race, with small groups breaking off and rejoining throughout.
An early break was caught with 60km to go, largely due to havoc caused by crosswinds. These calmed down with 50km left – and with 29km to go Tom Bohli (BMC Racing) launched an attack, only to be caught with 15km to the line.
Road furniture meant lead out trains got messy nearing the finish, but Cavendish positioned himself behind his rivals, accelerating to take the win.
Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) would have been in the GC lead, but lost 20 seconds by time penalty after he was spotted sitting in behind a team car with 70km remaining.
Elia Viviani after stage one of the Dubai Tour. Photo : Yuzuru SUNADA
Despite a late puncture, Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) recovered to win the second stage – just beating race leader Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) into second.
The Italian made a move with 200m to go, holding onto the wheel of Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), who eventually finished fourth behind Riccardo Minali (Astana).
Six riders went clear at the drop of the flag, but it was always likely to be a sprinter’s stage. The last two escapees were caught with 9km to go – the gap dropping significantly when teams sped up in light of Viviani’s puncture – the Italian rejoining the pack at 17km to go before the sprint final.
The day’s race featured a break of five, who were allowed to dangle out front until the final kilometres. A crash with 8km to go took a few sprint team support riders out, but with 5km to go the race had re-organised and Quick Step Floors appeared to be dominating the front.
Many sprint trains splintered in the chaotic finish, with Groenewegen going for the line early and Cort Nielsen free to move down the left hand side as Viviani stayed to the right.
Riders will compete across four different ranking systems, in pursuit of one of the Dubai Tour jerseys.
The Blue Jersey is sponsored by the Commercial Bank of Dubai – and this is the honour given to the leader of the general classification.
The White Jersey, sponsored by RTA – Roads and Transport Authority – is for the best young rider.
The Red Jersey, sponsored by Emirates, goes to the leader of the points competition – gained through intermediate sprints and finish line position.
Finally, there’s a UAE flag jersey, put up by DHA Dubai Health, which is awarded to the intermediate sprint classification leader.
Dubai Tour 2018: teams
In total, sixteen teams have been invited – nine UCI WorldTour Teams, five UCI Professional Continental Teams, one UCI Continental Team and one UAE National Team.
The teams invited are:
Astana Pro Team (Kaz)
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Quick-Step Floors (Bel)
Team Dimension Data (RSA)
Team Katusha Alpecin (Sui)
Team Lotto NL-Jumbo (Ned)
UAE Team Emirates (UAE)
Aqua Blue Sport (Irl)
Confidis, Solutions Credits (Fra)
Rally Cycling (USA)
Team Novo Nordisk (USA)
Wilier Triestina-Sella Italia (Ita)
Kittel made a strong start to his title defence, winning stage one of the 2017 Dubai Tour with a powerful sprint that left Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) unable to come off his wheel.
The fourth stage was cancelled due to high winds, before Kittel took his third victory of the race on stage five to wrap over the overall title. by 18 seconds from Dylan Groenewegen.
For riders looking to ease themselves back into racing, the Dubai Tour offers everything they could want; warm weather (the average temperature in the city during February is 25 degrees Celsius), terrain that isn’t too challenging, nice hotels, and straightforward infrastructure with each stage starting from the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC).
These favourable circumstances attract plenty of big names from the ten WorldTour teams that were invited to the race, some of whom were likely put off by the more difficult parcours of the Tour Down Under and the Vuelta a San Luis.
Four of the five stages are pan-flat, with the sprinters likely to be battling it out. However the race could be decided on stage four, which includes an uphill finish with slopes of up to 17%.
In 2016 Mark Cavendish went into the race attempting to defend his title, having won two stages and enough bonus points to defeat John Degenkolb last year.
Stage three involved an uphill finish, and it was here in 2015 that Degenkolb surprised the field to take the win. This year Juan Jose Lobato timed his attack to perfection and took the line honours, whilst Giacomo Nizzolo moved into the overall race lead.
German sprinter Kittel held his own, though, and only lost four seconds on the stage winner when he came over in sixth. A mechanical ruled Cavendish out of contention for the stage and for the overall in the process, too.
Kittel beat Viviani and Cavendish to the line on stage four and picked up the ten bonus seconds he needed to leapfrog Nizzolo for the overall victory.
Dubai Tour 2017: stages
Stage one, Tuesday January 31: DIMC – Palm Jumeirah, 181km | Report
Stage two, Wednesday February 1: DIMC – Ras Al Khaimah, 188km | Report
Stage three, Thursday February 2: DIMC – Al Aqah, 200km | Report
Stage four, Friday February 3: DIMC – Hatta Dam, 172km | Cancelled
Stage five, Saturday February 4: DIMC – City Walk, 124km | Report
Dubai Tour 2017: Teams
BMC Racing (USA)
Quick-Step Floors (BEL)
Team Dimension Data (RSA)
Team LottoNL-Jumbo (NED)
Team Sky (GBR)
UAE Abu Dhabi (UAE)
Aqua Blue Sport (IRL)
One Pro Cycling (GBR)
Team Novo Nordisk (ITA)
Wilier Triestina (ITA)
UAE National Team (UAE)
Dubai Tour: Final GC 2017
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors, in 15-08-56
2. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo, at 18 secs
3. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo, at 20 secs
4. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing, at 24 secs
5. Elia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky, at same time
6. Thomas Stewart (GBr) One Pro Cycling, at same time
7. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana, at 26 secs
8. Mark Cavendish (Gbr) Dimension Data, at same time
9. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data, at 27 secs
10. Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar, at same time
Dubai Tour: Recent winners
2016: Marcel Kittel
2015: Mark Cavendish
2014: Taylor Phinney