Etixx-QuickStep aims for more wins in Dubai
Etixx-QuickStep’s Mark Cavendish sprinted to victory during the opening stage of the Dubai Tour on Wednesday, his second road win of the season, and he is aiming to add another win to the tally during stage 2 on Thursday.
"I'm super happy with my form and with the cohesion between Etixx - Quick-Step,” said Cavendish, who won the Tour de San Luis finale. "We really rode strong as a team in Argentina and we rode really well as a team in Dubai today.
“All winter I was happy. At training camp it was such a strong ambiance. We knew we'd start off on a good note this season. We won more than 60 races last year, and we want to try for better this year. It's not going to be a big ask I don't think, because we can feel the desire and motivation to go out as a unit and win."
The Dubai Tour continues with stage 2, a 187km race from Dubai International Marine Club to Palm Jumeirah, on Thursday.
Boaro steals valuable bonus seconds during solo stage 1 move
Tinkoff-Saxo’s Manuele Boaro is sitting in sixth place, eight seconds down, in the overall classification after the opening stage of the Dubai Tour that finished in a sprint at Union House Flag on Wednesday.
The Italian made a brief solo move at the end stage’s 145km race in a attempt to foil the heavy-hitting sprinters’ plans of taking the opening stage win and the first leader’s jersey. He was eventually reabsorbed into the field but managed to steal two bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint right as he was getting caught.
Tinkoff-Saxo's director Tristan Hoffman said that their original goal was to finish well with sprinter Michael Kohler, but that he is still rebuilding his form after being sick at the Tour Down Under. Nonetheless, he was pleased with the team’s performance on the day and expects the bonus seconds offered during each stage to play a role in the overall outcome of the race this year.
“After the peloton headed by the sprinters' teams caught the initial breakaway, Boaro attacked in a solo effort. He took two seconds in the intermediate sprint, which may not seem like much, but it can play a big role in a race like Dubai Tour.”
Bardiani-CSF pleased with team performance in Dubai opener
Bardiani-CSF may have come up short in the Dubai Tour’s stage 1 final sprint won by Cavendish but their overall performance throughout the day was praised by manager Roberto Reverberi.
Enrico Battaglin spent more than 120km in the breakaway and picked up enough bonus seconds to start the event off in seventh place overall, and Paolo Simion finished in the top 10 and took the best young rider jersey.
“I guess we started in the right way,” Reverberi said. “I’m pleased about the team’s attitude and as they managed this opening stage. Battaglin going into the breakaway and gaining some seconds in the intermediate sprints. It’s important for the final general classification as he will be able to stay with the best on the uphill finish of stage 3.
“Really well also was Simion’s performance. He’s a talented guy and since the first day with us he proved to be smart and focused on his job.”
Valls represents Lampre-Merida in the Dubai breakaway, Cimolai suffered through stage 1
Rafael Valls (Lampre-Merida) has kicked off the Dubai Tour in eight place overall after the opening stage. He was involved in a five-man breakaway that stayed away for roughly 120km and picked up bonus seconds before the move was caught by the field. His teammate Davide Cimolai was 15th in the final sprint, won by Cavendish.
"My teammates were great in granting me a perfect support, but today I was not at the top, I always suffer the first stages,” Cimolai said. “The sprint was very suitable for powerful cyclists, I tried to keep a place in the front of the bunch, where I was when [Filippo] Pozzato helped me to take this position. I’m sure tomorrow I'll be able to do better".
The day’s breakaway escaped in the opening 10km and Valls bridged across to it. It also included Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani), Vladimir Gusev (Skydive Dubai), Nicolas Lefrançois (Novo Nordisk) and Alessandro Bazzana (UnitedHealthcare).