Dubai Tour: Stage & GC for Kittel

Marcel Kittel capped off a great week in the Middle East by taking his third stage victory and the overall in the Tour of Dubai, Tom Stewart is 6th on GC


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Dubai Tour: Stage & GC for Kittel

Marcel Kittel wins Dubai Tour for the second year in a row

Marcel Kittel capped off a great week in the Middle East by taking his third stage victory and the overall in the Tour of Dubai, Tom Stewart finished with 6th on GC, a brilliant ride by the Sheffield rider. Photo: Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team/ Tim De Waele 

The German capped off a great week in the Middle East by taking his third stage victory
The fourth edition of the Dubai Tour was a memorable one for Quick-Step Floors and Marcel Kittel, who won three of the four stages capitalizing on the great work of his teammates, who took the front of the peloton every day and controlled the breakaway before delivering the German in the final 200 meters, where his huge power, incredible burst of speed and tactical nous did the rest, catapulting him to victory and a perfect start to his second season with Quick-Step Floors.

The last stage of the race was also the shortest at 124 kilometers and got off to a flying start, with speeds of over 50 km/h, as several riders tried to jump clear and make it into the break.

It turned out to be mission impossible in the first 40 kilometers of the day, as the escapees weren’t to the peloton’s liking. Eventually, Matteo Bono (UAE Abu Dhabi), Ivan Cortina (Bahrain-Merida), Floris Gerts (BMC) and Dmitry Gruzdev (Astana) got a green light and went into the break, but Julian Alaphilippe and Bob Jungels led a steady chase behind them, carrying the field on the flat roads to Dubai City Walk, and kept the gap under two minutes all the time.

Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team/ Tim De Waele 

With 10 kilometers left, it was all back together as the sprinters’ teams began jostling for position on the wide roads of Dubai. Quick-Step Floors took over the front and upped the pace as more and more lead-out trains began to form. Once again, Fabio Sabatini slotted into his role as Marcel Kittel’s final man, but a chain problem for the Italian meant that the German was on his own going into a tight right-hand bend with 400 meters left.

This didn’t stop Marcel, who kept a close eye on his opponents and started his sprint on the outside, getting the better of Elia Viviani (Team Sky) and Riccardo Minali (Astana) for his third stage win this week. It was his eighth career victory at the Dubai Tour, one which sealed the general classification, where Kittel finished ahead of Dylan Groenewegen (Lotto-NL-Jumbo) and John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo). The overall success coincided with the team’s tenth win of 2017, a remarkable achievement giving that we’re just one month into the season.

“Today was a short and fast stage. We tried to control it from the very beginning and we did as planned thanks to a superb team effort, so hats off to the guys for their work. In the final kilometer, Fabio’s chain fell off, but fortunately I was well-positioned in the pack and notched up the victory to cap off a fantastic week for us, in a race which we enjoyed a lot”, said the 28-year-old sprinter of Quick-Step Floors, who won 8 of the 11 road stages he competed in at the Dubai Tour.

Next appointment for Kittel will be another race in the desert, the Abu Dhabi Tour (23-26 February), where he’ll line up after his excellent display in the Dubai Tour, which saw him win the overall standings for the second consecutive year, the points jersey and three stages, with which he took his all-time tally to 76 pro victories: “Coming into the race, our goal was to score a win and see what’s our condition.”

“The results we got showed that we had a good winter preparation. Best sprinters in the world were here and it wasn’t easy to come out on top, but the team was incredible and very strong, and this only gives us more confidence for the following races. We were the dominant team here and I am happy to get this blue jersey, which fits well with our kit; at the same time I am super proud of my teammates and of what we’ve achieved here in a race I really like!”

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Britain’s Tom Stewart from Sheffield rode a brilliant race to finish in 6th place overall. He said later on twitter, “Was a little nervous before the start today 🙈 All somehow worked out in the end though”.

John Degenkolb (Trek Segafredo): “It was hard to stay together today, and make a good leadout,” Degenkolb explained. “We lost each other already with three kilometers to go. We tried to improvise the best we could, and in the end, it was Kiel [Reijnen] who delivered me in still an okay position into the last corner on Marcel’s wheel.”

“But then there was some confusion as Cav let a gap to Renshaw, and that caused a kind of traffic jam in front of me, and I couldn’t really start the sprint. Marcel picked the right moment to go out and did a long sprint, he was the strongest by far anyway, but I think I could have done better than 5th. That was unfortunate, but that’s cycling. I still felt okay to start a good sprint, but in the end, there was not enough space to start early enough, and it was too late.

“Another lesson today for the team in working for the leadout. The team can be proud of what we achieved this week, and I am very happy of the trust that the team has in me. I was every stage in the top five and one victory, which was the goal for the week. We go home with happy faces and a lot of gained experience.”

Roger Hammond – Sport Director Dimension Data: “It’s a real pity today. The guys were really motivated and were trying to finish the race off in style. I think you could see from the pictures they really took the race on and did exactly what we asked them to do. A slight issue on the finishing straight for Mark meant we didn’t get the victory we deserved for this week. So it’s been a bit of a frustrating week and the guys showed they’ve got really good form and they’re fighting well. Just a little bad luck here and there prevented us from getting that victory. So we look forward to the next races knowing that we are in a good place.”

1. Marcel Kittel, Quick-Step Floors
2. Elia Viviani, Team Sky
3. Ricarrdo Minali, Astana Pro Team
4. Mark Cavendish, MarkDimension Data
5. John Degenkolb, Trek – Segafredo
6. Sacha Modolo, SachaUAE Abu Dhabi
7. Jean-Pierre Drucker,BMC Racing Team
8. Paolo Simion, Bardiani – CSF
9. Sonny Colbrelli, Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team
10. Dylan Groenewegen, Team LottoNL-Jumbo

13. Adam Blythe, Aqua Blue Sport
14. Tom Stewart, One Pro Cycling
16. Alex Dowsett, Movistar Team
20. Andy Fenn, Aqua Blue Sport
25. Matt Brammeier, Aqua Blue Sport 0:06
28. Karol Domagalski, One Pro Cycling
35. Steele Von Hoff, One Pro Cycling
41. Joshua Hunt, One Pro Cycling
43. Peter Williams,One Pro Cycling
49. Sam Williams, One Pro Cycling
61. Dan Pearson, Aqua Blue Sport
74. Mark Christian,Aqua Blue Sport 0:21
88. Scott Thwaites, Dimension Data
94. Jon Dibben, Team Sky
120. Kristian House, One Pro Cycling
121. Tao Geoghegan Hart, Team Sky 3:47

Final Overall
1. Marcel Kittel Quick-Step Floors
2. Dylan Groenewegen, Team LottoNL-Jumbo
3. John Degenkolb, Trek – Segafredo
4. Jean-Pierre Drucker, BMC Racing Team
5. Elia Viviani, Team Sky
6. Thomas Stewart, One Pro Cycling
7. Riccardo Minali, Astana Pro Team
8. Mark Cavendish, Dimension Data
9. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg Dimension Data
10. DowsettAlexMovistar Team

16. Adam BlytheAdamAqua Blue Sport



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