Peter Sagan (Cannondale) was up against some of the best sprinters in the peloton at the end of the second stage of the Dubai Tour, but had the skill and speed to survive the hectic finale in the cross winds and finish second behind Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano).
The Cannondale team had not planned to set up Sagan for the sprint but the Slovakian and his team changed their minds late on in the stage. Key domestiques such as Ted King, Maciej Bodnar and Fabio Sabatini help Sagan stay protected and well positioned and then Marco Marcato dropped him off on Mark Renshaw's wheel, disrupting the Omega Pharma-Quick Step lead out.
Fabian Cancellara's late surge to set up his Trek Factory Racing teammate Giacomo Nizzolo shuffled the peloton and derailed the Omega Pharma-Quick Step lead out. However, Sagan managed to somehow come through the middle of the pack to take second behind Kittel but ahead of race leader Taylor Phinney (BMC) and Juan Jose Lobato (Movistar).
"I'm happy with my sprint today. There was a lot of wind today and so a lot of fighting for position, especially in the final five kilometres. I think I did a good sprint," Sagan told Cyclingnews with pride.
"It was a finish for Kittel, it was finish for sprinters. I had a go and I think I did pretty well considering the finish."
Sagan is hoping to take his first victory of the 2014 season on Friday's third stage at the Dubai Tour. The 162km stage includes two climbs in the finale, with the second topping out just eight kilometres from the finish. Sagan and others could try to hurt the sprinters on the first climb, that comes with 34km to go and then try to distance them before the finish in Hatta.
Sagan finished second to Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) on the final stage of the Tour of San Luis but is keen to land his first victory of the new season.
"We'll see how the stage goes on Friday. The harder we make the stage, the better is it for me," he said.