Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep) solidified his impressive start to the season, winning the final stage of the Dubai Tour on Saturday, and thus claiming the overall title in the process. The German had won the opening stage to Fujairah – his first win for his new team – and although he was ruled out of contention on stage 2 due to a crash, he put in a dogged display to finish sixth on stage 3 to Hatta Dam. That result put him in contention to win the overall however he needed to dislodge overnight leader Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) in order to do so.
In the final stage, Kittel came out on top - with the help of a powerful Etixx-QuickStep leadout – to win the stage and secure an all-important 10-second time bonus. That was enough to push him to the top of the standings, while Nizzolo could only manage sixth in the sprint, and dropped to second overall, four seconds down on Kittel in GC.
Juan José Lobato (Movistar), who won stage 3 to the Hatta Dam, finished third overall at six seconds. Click here for complete coverage from the Dubai Tour.
Froome, making his first start since abandoning the Vuelta a Espana last year took the final stage of the race with a late attack at the base of Arthurs seat. It was enough to seal the overall win, while former race leader Peter Kennaugh finished seventh on the stage and secured second overall. Damien Howson (Orica-GreenEdge) was the best of the rest on the final stage, finishing in second behind Froome, and the result meant he took the final overall podium place.
On the penultimate stage John Murphy took the honours for the UnitedHealthcare team in Inverloch, with the American team’s first win of the 2016 season. He sprinted home ahead of Niccolò Bonifazio (Trek-Segafredo) with ONE Pro Cycling's Steele von Hoff taking third.
Click here for complete coverage from the Herald Sun Tour.
Team Sky’s stage racing prowess also showed in Europe at the weekend with Woet Poels taking his second stage win of the race at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. The Dutchman attacked on the final climb on stage 4 and held off the chasing field. Already in the lead thanks to his opening day victory, Poels’ attack on the Xorret de Caíi, saw him solo clear and create further daylight between himself and his remaining rivals.
On Sunday’s final stage Stijn Vandenbergh (Etixx-QuickStep) held off the sprinters – and a late challenge from a plastic bag – to take the win ahead of Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo and Raymond Kreder (Ned) Roompot-Oranje Peloton.
Poels finished safely in the peloton to clinch the leader’s yellow jersey, along with the points jersey and the mountain jersey, and Team Sky won the overall best team. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) finished second overall at 46 seconds, with (Benat Intxausti) a further 10 seconds back in third.
Click here for complete coverage from the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.
Jérôme Coppel (IAM Cycling) claimed his second overall win in the Etoile de Bessèges after winning the final stage time trial on Sunday. The 29-year-old Frenchman won the race back in 2009 but has struggled for wins in recent seasons. He was third in the Worlds time trial in Richmond last season and after a consistent opening four stages in the Etoile de Bessèges, he comprehensively won the final 11.9km individual time trial.
Thibault Pinot (FDJ) finished second, 13 seconds down on the IAM Cycling rider, with veteran Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R la Mondiale) in third.
Coppel – the current French national time trial champion took the overall win with Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) second and Pinot in third. Overnight leader, Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie) faded in the time trial and was forced to settle for fourth on GC.
Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) had won the penultimate stage, breaking up the French-led dominance of the five-day race.
Click here for complete coverage from the Etoile de Besseges.
Grega Bole (Nippo-Vini Fantini) put his Tour de San Luis form to good use by taking the win at the G.P. Costa degli Etruschi on Sunday. The 30-year-old Slovenian picked up two top-ten results in the Argentine stage race in January but scored his first win for his new team in Italy, ahead of Francesco Gavazzi (Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec) and Diego Ulissi (Lampre - Merida).
For full results, click here.
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