Report: Tour of Dubai Finale

Double victory for Elia Viviani as he seals Dubai Tour overall win with spectacular last day victory – round up of reactions from Viviani, Kittel, Cavendish, Blythe and more

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Report: Tour of Dubai Finale

Team Press Release

Elia Viviani reigned supreme on the fifth and final stage of the Dubai Tour, netting Quick-Step Floors’ fourth straight GC triumph at the Middle East race, which has served the team well since 2015, the year of our first victory. For the impressive Viviani, it was the second overall win of his career, nearly five years after coming out on top in the Tour of Elk Grove, a short stage race in the United States.

Photo: Tim De Waele / Getty Images

The Italian, whose previous best overall result at the Dubai Tour was a fifth place, went into the final day of the event with a two-second buffer over Magnus Cort (Astana) in the rankings, after putting in a brave fight on the Hatta Dam climb.

Protected by the same infallible Quick-Step Floors six-man squad that marshalled the peloton since the opening stage, Elia didn’t need to worry when four riders escaped and established a 4:30-gap, as his teammates took it to the front and cut the deficit, before bringing the attackers back with ten kilometers to go.

As expected, other teams got in the mix to set up the final bunch gallop of the Dubai Tour, and the nervousness that ensued led to a crash on the last right hand corner of the stage, taking several riders to the ground, while others found themselves blocked behind the pile-up.

That incident also meant Viviani had to put in quite the effort to close the gap to the ones in the front, which he did thanks to the help of an impeccable Fabio Sabatini – who once again proved why he is one of the best lead-out men in the business – before opening the sprint with 100 meters remaining and overhauling Marco Haller (Katusha-Alpecin) and Adam Blythe (Aqua Blue Sport) for his third victory of the season, one which landed him also the beautiful “Circle of Stars” trophy.

Photo: Tim De Waele / Getty Images

Minutes after crossing the line, an ecstatic Elia made an analysis of the chaotic, crash-marred finale: “This morning I tried to stay relaxed, but now I must admit that I was very nervous, because my margin in the general classification was a slender one. Our tactic was to let join the break only riders who weren’t posing a danger in the overall, so we don’t have to pull all day long, because I needed all my six teammates for the closing part of the stage.

In the final kilometer, Saba did an outstanding job, avoiding the crash, then closing the gap and leading me out. All I had to do was patiently wait, because we had a headwind, and it was important to leave it as late as possible.”
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Viviani is one of the seven riders to have joined Quick-Step Floors before the start of 2018, and now, just one month into his season, he boasts four victories, a remarkable amount after three races with the squad, which he credited as the main reason for his superb results since the beginning of the year.

“I came to this team in order to become one of the best sprinters in the world, and 90% of what I have achieved here in Dubai is Quick-Step Floors’ merit. The boys are extraordinary, they rallied around me and offered their huge support, while Brian Holm laid out a perfect tactic.

“The goal was to win the GC, but at the same time we decided to take it day by day and see what happens. Two stage wins and the general classification is a fantastic way to close out the week. I’m very happy with how I started the season and the good form I have, it gives me even more confidence for my future races”, concluded the Italian, who wrapped up the Dubai Tour also with the red jersey – for the most consistent rider in the points standings – in the bag.

Other Reactions

Mark Cavendish – “I am alright, I didn’t crash at all so I’m fine. I hope the guys who did crash are alright. I am pretty happy with how the week has gone. Today the team was wicked and I actually lost Mark Renshaw with a kilometer to go. Apart from that, the team did exactly what I asked of them, they were spot on. To see the difference from the first day to today, well I am very happy with the progress made this week.”

Adam Blythe: “The final kilometre was very fast and we went in hot into that last corner. I was trying to find the right wheel then there was a crash and I was lucky to miss it. I came out of the corner on Elia’s (Viviani) wheel which was quite good. I waited for him to start his sprint and then come around him in the finish but I just ran out of space. Good result but there is still a bit more to give I think,” said Blythe

Marcel Kittel: “Everyone is disappointed that we could not go for a good result today. I think the critical point was the last corner where the crash happened and everyone as messed up again and I had to find a way to make a good way to the finish line but that was very difficult. This race gace us moments to learn to help the team grow which was the main goal for this Tour ”

Jacob Hennessy – Late attack: “We wanted to go and do something different today, the whole week has been about learning and also getting to know each other a bit better so we wanted to try and utiilise that and spring late attack.”

“When Rob and I went we gave it everything and it was always going to be long shot, but it showed what we are all about and that we have the confidence to have a go and get ourselves and the team out there.

“It has been such a fantastic experience for all of us to be here racing against the WorldTour riders and giving a good account of ourselves, if we can race like this in the first race of the season, when we don’t really know each other, then that’s a good sign for what we can achieve for the rest of the year.”

Marco Haller (2nd) “I noticed the crash and the gap behind me but I already had to make a big effort to move to the front for the last corner and at the end, like Marcel said, we came for the stage win and it just didn’t happen.”
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Jempy Drucker: (4th) “I knew the finish from last year, so I knew the final corner, and I could tell from the speed that we were entering it that there could be a crash. So, I decided to stay on the inside and in the end, I found myself in fourth positon. I launched my sprint with 200m to go but, there was a slight headwind, and in the end, three other guys were able to pass me.”

“This has been a good first week of racing for me. It is always good to get into the race rhythm, and my shape seems good heading to Oman. We will have different priorities there, and the parcours is more hilly, but I think for me that will be a good way to fine-tune ahead of the next part of the season.”

Nathan Van Hooydonck: (4th overall) “There was a crash in the last corner, and I got caught behind that which was a bit of a shame. However, overall at this race, I have been feeling good, and I think that I have been able to show that my form is good for this early part of the season. There are a lot of positives to take away from this race, and I was happy to finish fourth overall. I think it is a good indication of how the rest of the season will go. Now, I am looking forward to heading to Oman and working for the team.”

Magnus Cort: “The crash at the end slowed me down because they crashed just in front of me. I was not in a good position for the sprint as well, we didn’t succeed in organizing a good lead-out. But nonetheless I’m happy with my second place in the GC and with the win of the Young rider Classification, it’s a good debut for me at Astana Pro Team, – told Magnus Cort after the podium ceremonies.



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