News: Abu Dhabi Tour Stage 1

Mark Cavendish wins stage 1 in the Abu Dhabi Tour whilst controversary rages after disc is said to have cut Owain Doull in crash

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News: Abu Dhabi Tour Stage 1

Team Press Release
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were on song during stage 1 of the Abu Dhabi Tour with a perfect leadout from the African Team delivering Mark Cavendish to victory.

The minor podium placings went to Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida) respectively. It was the first World Tour victory of the season for Cavendish and Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka.

When the early breakaway of the stage was reeled in with 15km to go, the respective sprint teams began to organise their sprint trains. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka remained calm at the rear of the peloton, waiting for the right time to move up.

After Daniel Teklehaimanot did a mountain of work to bring back the early breakaway, it was Igor Anton that led the African Team to the head of affairs with just 10km to go. It was a tough battle to stay organised at the front of the race as the wide road made it easy for teams to move up the sides of the peloton.

Video Highlights

Johann van Zyl and Bernhard Eisel were going shoulder to shoulder with the other trains as Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Mark Renshaw and Mark Cavendish stayed in the wheels.

It was extremely difficult keep in formation but Eisel marshaled the troops well. With 4km to go, the Austrian powerhouse brought Janse van Rensburg, Renshaw and Cavendish back to the head of the race. A strong pull by Eisel then had the Dimension Data finishing trio head into the all-important final left hand corner with 1km to go first.
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In the corner, there was a crash but as his team were leading, Cavendish was unaffected. The South African champion Janse van Rensburg then turned on the power down the finishing straight before giving way to Renshaw, who began the kick for the line. Bonifazio realised he was behind the 8-ball at this point and decided to go early from two places back, but all this did was provide Cavendish with the final slingshot to take the victory.

Mark Cavendish: The team was fantastic, really the lads did a phenomenal job today and I can’t fault anyone in the team. We knew that last corner was where it was going to count though and we had to get there first. We were hugging the barrier and I think it was a new guy from Orica, who tried to come up the inside.

When I saw the barrier I thought, ah no, there is no way you’ll get your whole team through there and next thing we heard the crash behind. I hope everyone is alright from that crash. Through the corner when Reinie went, the South African champion, you actually have to tell him to slow down because he is so strong.

He just gave us so much speed and then Mark could go. I wanted to go a bit late obviously with the wind, but Bonifazio went early which played into my hands because I could just bounce off him and go through. I’m really happy with the win and the jersey obviously, this is a special race to me and its great motivation for the whole team.

Roger Hammond – Sport Director: The team worked really well today. Everyone was involved from Merhawi our climber, through Daniel and Igor who is also saving himself for Saturday. They all chipped in to make sure the guys were dropped off for the sprint. We knew we needed to be in the first 5 guys after that corner and they executed it perfectly. From kilometre zero to the end they executed the plan perfectly and the end result is a win. Everyone is really happy and can be happy with their own performances.

Marcel Kittel: Before going into the team bus, Marcel –winner of the Dubai Tour this season – explained what happened: “I was in the wheel of Sabatini as we were closing in on the line, then Owain Doull came from the back and our handlebars got stucked in each other, and I crashed and lost some skin. Things like this happen when everyone is nervous in the final and wants to be in the front. It’s a pity, because I felt good today and the team worked really well. It’s a bit of a setback, but at the same time it motivates me even more for the next stages.”

Owain Doull Vid

1. Mark Cavendish, Dimension Data
2. André Greipel, Lotto Soudal1
3. Niccolo Bonifazio, Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team
4. Simone Consonni, UAE Team Emirates
5. Elia Viviani, Team Sky
6. Roger Kluge, ORICA-Scott
7. Alexander Porsev, Gazprom-RusVelo
8. Matteo Pelucchi, Bora – Hansgrohe
9. Nicola Ruffoni, Bardiani – CSF
10. Eduard Grosu, MichaelNippo – Vini Fantini

17. Rui Costa, UAE Team Emirates
19. Ben Swift, UAE Team Emirates
24. Fabio Aru, Astana Pro Team
25. Vincenzo Nibali, Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team
116. Peter Kennaugh, Team Sky
125. Jonathan Dibben, Team Sky
132. Jack Bauer, Quick-Step Floors
152. Tao Geoghegan Hart, Team Sky
154. Marcel Kittel, Quick-Step Floors
155. Owain Doull, Team Sky
156. Alex Dowsett, Movistar Team
158. Caleb Ewan, ORICA-Scott



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