Dubai Tour: Viviani Wins Second Stage

Dubai Tour: Viviani Wins Second Stage
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Published February 7th, 2018 - 19:45 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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Italy's Elia Viviani of Quick Step Floors wins the Ras Al Khaimah stage of the Dubai Tour on Wednesday. (Photo by Dhes Handumon)
Italy's Elia Viviani of Quick Step Floors wins the Ras Al Khaimah stage of the Dubai Tour on Wednesday. (Photo by Dhes Handumon)

On this day in 1989, Elia Viviani came into this world. And 29 years on, the Italian gave himself the perfect birthday gift in Dubai, by clinching the Second Stage of the Dubai Tour in Ras Al Khaimah on Wednesday.

Denied a stage win by Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen on the opening day on Tuesday after the Quick-Step Floors rider was left with no room on the right and was agonisingly close to the rails, Olympic champion Viviani made sure there was no repeat, winning the Ras Al Khaimah Stage, the longest of the Tour.

Viviani, who has won five gold medals in the European Track Championships, stayed clear of any danger despite the utter chaos nearing the finish and held off Team Dimension Data's Mark Cavendish and a late charge from overall leader Groenewegen of Team Lotto NL-Jumbo, to land the spoils in the 190km Stage.

The ace sprinter finished the Stage with a time of four hours, 34 minutes and 31 seconds and the victory moved him up to second in the General Classification behind Groenewegen.

This was his second Stage win of the season as the new leader of Quick-Step Floors after Viviani had triumphed in the third Stage of the Santos Tour Down Under in Australia.

Coming as it did after he suffered a rear wheel puncture with 23km remaining, it was all the more special. And going by the pristine form he is in, it should serve as an ominous warning to the rest of his rivals.

Coincidentally, Viviani had won the second Stage of the Dubai Tour in 2015 and 2016 and had worn the Blue Jersey.

Meanwhile, Groenewegen too encountered mechanical issues and after a quick bike change, the Ducthman rejoined the peleton and made a final dash at it. But the 24-year-old was unable to reel in a resilient Viviani.

Nonetheless, the Champs Elysees stage winner at last year's Tour de France, still heads the General Classification after two stages and a total distance of 367km.

But Groenewegen will do well to look over his shoulder on the morrow when the riders tackle the 180km Dubai Silicon Oasis Stage to Fujairah as it is a slender lead that he holds.

Groenewegen has an overall time of eight hours, 25 minutes and 50 seconds, just two seconds over Viviani and nine seconds over BMC Racing's Belgian rider Nathan van Hooydonck.

He holds the Blue Jersey (General Classification), Red Jersey (Points Classification) and the White Jersey (Young Riders).

Astana Pro Team's Riccardo Minali was third in the Stage, while Cavendish, who was held up because of Tuesday's crash and was unable to make a move, made a fist of it on the day but he didn't have the legs on Viviani and faded off to finish fourth.

Two-time winner Marcel Kittel didn't quite have it his way for the second day running with the German finishing way down in 17th. The German is still finding his feet with his new employers Team Katusha Alpecin since making the switch from Quick-Step Floors.

There were no such worries for Alexander Kristoff with the UAE Team Emirates rider finishing seventh. The Norwegian was third when the sprint began at maddening pace but he perhaps went too early on the gas. Kristoff, who was fourth in the opening stage, sits sixth in the General Classification.

Hundred and nine riders took the start at the Skydive Dubai with Mitchelton-BikeExchange's Bi Wenhui not taking part.

By James Jose

Results (Stage 2, Skydive Dubai to Ras Al Khaimah, 190km):

1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors 04:34:31

2. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo

3. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana Pro Team

4. Mark Cavendish (GBR) Dimension Data

5. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo

6. Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team

7. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates

8. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team

9. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida

10. Adam Blythe (GBR) Aqua Blue Sport

General Classification (After Stage 2):

1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo 08:25:50

2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors 00:00:02

3. Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) BMC Racing 00:00:09

4 .Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Astana Pro Team 00:00:09

5. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 00:00:10

6. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:12

7. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 00:00:16

8. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida

9. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo

10. Jacob Hennessy (GBR) Mitchelton-BikeExchange

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