Dubai Tour: Birthday present for Viviani

Stage 2 and Elia Viviani gets the perfect gift for his birthday – victory in the bunch kick – reactions from him, Kittel and others

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Dubai Tour: Birthday present for Viviani

Viviani gets the perfect gift on his birthday

The Italian shrugged off the disappointment of the previous day and blasted to victory on stage 2 of the Dubai Tour

Photo credit: © Tim De Waele / Getty Images

Elia Viviani couldn’t have asked for a better present on the day he turned 29, as the Quick-Step Floors rider combined physical presence, positioning, timing and speed – after a flawless display of his teammates – and sailed to his second victory of the season in Ras al Khaimah, holding off the late surge of race leader Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) and countryman Riccardo Minali (Astana).

“I was very motivated after yesterday’s disappointment. In Palm Jumeirah I felt that I lost a chance and was very frustrated, also because my teammates put in a huge amount of work and I let them down. I’m a pro since 2010 and people know that a defeat motivates me more than a victory, and this was the case also today. The feeling with the guys is incredible, it’s very special to be part of this team and I’m happy to get the victory here, which makes my birthday even more beautiful.”
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One of the top contenders at the start of the 190km-long stage, Elia spent a quiet day in the bunch, except for a rear wheel change inside the last 25 kilometers. Despite losing around 40 seconds to the peloton, the 29-year-old kept his composure, and helped by three Quick-Step Floors teammates, returned to the main group, which soon after reeled in the last three breakaway riders.

Unlike Tuesday, the final kilometers of the stage were easier, but the pack was again very nervous, with the sprinters’ teams beginning to jostle for position with ten kilometers to go. Piloted by a strong Niki Terpstra, the Quick-Step Floors train took the left side of the road and navigated through the field to the front, with Elia Viviani – fourth wheel under the flamme rouge – relying once again before the sprint on an amazing Fabio Sabatini.

“The last kilometer was chaotic, but it’s always like that when you have the best sprinters in the world fighting for victory. The team made their presence felt, and with 500 meters left, Saba closed the gap to the riders in the front. Then, I got into the wheel of Kristoff and decided to sprint earlier than yesterday. It’s my best start of the season and I hope I won’t stop here. I know that I am second overall now, but I am not thinking of the general classification yet. The plan is to take it day by day and see what happens”, concluded Viviani after netting the team’s ninth stage victory at the Dubai Tour.

Dubai Tour Stage 2
1. Elia Viviani

4. Mark Cavendish
10. Adam Blythe
13. Jacob Hennessy
20. Andy Fenn
59. Dan Pearson
72. Mark Christian
93. Alex Dowsett

1. Groenewegen
2. Viviani
3. van Vooydinck
10. Hennessy
11. Cavendish
13. Blythe

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Other Reactions

Marcel Kittel: “We only help from one team, all the others waited and I don’t know why they were doing it, it is a sprinters race so they should also work for it. But anyway, in the final, I think we made some mistakes, we were too nervous maybe, didn’t have the coolness maybe, but that can happen.”

“I said before that this is a race, to try and test and you can fail some times and yesterday we were close and today we were maybe far away but that is the process we are going through now.”

We wanted to move up in one go on the left side, and that was a little bit difficult and communication wasn’t perfect but like I said before, that is okay if it happens now. There is dissapointment though and that is really good. We are all really going for it. What else can you do, we tried our best today and it wasn’t enough. Tomorrow is the next chance and then after that is a chance and another after that.”

Dylan Groenewegen: “I had to come from very far to sprint for the win. The fact that I didn’t win is disappointing, but the gain of today is that I’m still the leader in the general classification. Now, the focus is on tomorrow”, said the sprinter of Team LottoNL-Jumbo.

Mark Cavendish: “did get in a position to sprint today in @dubaitour. But couldn’t match Birthday Boy @eliaviviani. Congratulations mate and Happy Birthday! Sorry to my @TeamDiData boys for not finishing off their hard work though”

Riccardo Minali (3rd) “I was in a good position in the final and I passed the last corner pretty in front. Later, with around 300 meters to go I was somewhere in the middle. I preferred to wait a bit and have started my sprint behind Viviani. So, I finished third. Maybe, I could start my sprint a bit earlier, but anyway, it was a good day for me and I am happy to be among the first three riders at the finish, – explained Riccardo Minali.

Magnus Cort: The stage was nice as well as yesterday. It was a fast race with a sprint in the final. Yesterday I was really lucky with my position and I was close to a victory. Today I did not have such a big luck and took some more wind in the final and, perhaps, I missed some freshness. But, we were lucky to have another fast guy in our team – Riccardo, who could reach a Top-3. Anyway, I am happy with my result today, it is a very good performance with these strong sprinters in the peloton, – said Magnus Cort



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