A crash near the front of the peloton at the final corner with 500 meters to go to the line made for a messy sprint on the fifth and final stage of the 2018 Dubai Tour on Saturday. Eli Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) took his second stage victory of the race and the overall victory as well, as Katusha-Alpcin’s Marco Haller was second. Adam Blythe (Aqua Blue Sport) rounding out the podium.
“It’s amazing,” Vivani said of both his stage and overall victories. “This morning I was very stressed but I tried to look relaxed. Two seconds lead meant all or nothing. But we rode well as a team. The ideal situation for us was a breakaway without anyone involved in the top of the overall ranking. I had six teammates leading me out in the last corner. We missed the crash by very little. [Fabio] Sabatini closed the gap on the four guys ahead after the crash. With 50 meters to go, I understood I could win the stage. With the headwind, it would have been dangerous to launch from too far out.
“To win GC here is an important step up. I want to be one of the best sprinters in the world. This is a good start towards this goal with the great team I have now.”
Coming into the final bend with 500 meters to go, the fight for position was at its climax and many of the sprinters were either freelancing alone or had one teammate left with them. Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) came into the corner sitting in perfect position, fourth wheel behind a teammate, but slide out on the corner. His crash caused a chain reaction, as Friday’s winner at Hatta Dam Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) also crashed. Mark Cavendish was held up in the crash, but did not go down. Stage one winner Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) was able to avoid the mess, but had to hit his brakes too much and lost too many places to be competitive in the sprint.
Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) got around the crash with two teammates, but lost them in the final straight to the line and did not sprint. Haller tried to salvage a top finishing place for the team, but could not hold off a fast finishing Viviani. The Italian passed Haller in the final 10 meters to take the victory. He ended the five-stage race with a 12-second buffer over Magnus Cort Nielsen (Astana) to win the coveted circle of stars trophy. Despite crashing, Colbrelli still finished the race third overall, 14 seconds behind Viviani.
Top 10, stage 5
- 1. Elia Viviani, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, in 03:05:28
- 2. Marco Haller, TEAM KATUSHA – ALPECIN, s.t
- 3. Adam Blythe, AQUA BLUE SPORT, s.t
- 4. Jean-Pierre Drucker, BMC RACING TEAM ,s.t
- 5. Rick Zabel, TEAM KATUSHA – ALPECIN, s.t
- 6. Marcel Kittel, TEAM KATUSHA – ALPECIN, s.t
- 7. Sonny Colbrelli, BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, s.t
- 8. Magnus Cort Nielsen, ASTANA PRO TEAM, s.t
- 9. Andrea Peron, TEAM NOVO NORDISK, s.t
- 10. Fabio Sabatini, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, s.t
- 1. Elia Viviani, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, in 19:09:49
- 2. Magnus Cort Nielsen, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 0:12
- 3. Sonny Colbrelli, BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, at 0:14
- 4. Jean-Pierre Drucker, BMC RACING TEAM, at 0:24
- 5. Rick Zabel, TEAM KATUSHA – ALPECIN, at 0:24
- 6. Nathan Van Hooydonck, BMC RACING TEAM, at 0:27
- 7. Loïc Vliegen, BMC RACING TEAM, at 0:28
- 8. Timo Roosen, TEAM LOTTONL-JUMBO, at 0:30
- 9. Dylan Teuns, BMC RACING TEAM, at 0:34
- 10. Marcel Kittel, TEAM KATUSHA – ALPECIN, at 0:38
Full report to come
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