Cavendish wins opening stage of Dubai Tour

Manxman pips Guardini in bunch finish

The margin may have been tighter than he would have liked but in sprinting the only arbiter is the final result and Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) was ultimately well worth his victory on the opening stage of the Dubai Tour at Union House Flag.

Cavendish opened his sprint early in the finale – sooner, it seems, than he might otherwise have liked – but he managed to fend off a fierce comeback from the rapidly-closing Andrea Guardini (Astana) to claim the stage win and take possession of the overall lead.

After lead-out man Mark Renshaw deposited Cavendish at the front with a shade over 300 metres to go, the Manxman quickly put daylight between himself and his sprint rivals, and it seemed as if the honours had already been decided.

Guardini, however, ate up the ground in the final 150 metres and came within inches of overhauling Cavendish at the death. Indeed, even as Cavendish punched the air just past the finish line, Guardini raised a hand to suggest that those celebrations might just have been premature.

The photo finish image quickly confirmed that Cavendish’s first instincts had been correct, however, and he was able to celebrate his second victory of the new campaign. Guardini had to console himself with second place, while Elia Viviani (Sky) claimed third, just ahead of the surprising Alexander Porsev (Katusha).

Cavendish’s victory was no more, perhaps, than his Etixx-QuickStep team had deserved for their day’s work. Tony Martin had been already been quietly impressive in helping to ensure that early escapees were never allowed too much free rein, and he was then utterly dominant in the finale.

Martin’s surge to the front with five kilometres remaining heralded the formal beginning of Etixx-QuickStep’s lead-out effort, and the German carefully marshalled Cavendish through the sole technical difficulty in the run-in, the 180-degree turn with three kilometres to go.

Underneath the red kite, Martin cruised to the front once more, before yielding to Fabio Sabatini. The Italian spent less time in front than expected as Team Sky looked to move up in support of Viviani, but Mark Renshaw brought order to affairs 500 metres from home before Cavendish wound up for his seemingly interminable sprint.

“My sensations are good, I’m happy I was up there fighting,” Guardini said. “The aim was to start off strongly. Last year in Dubai, I fought for the win on the last stage. This year, I was up there on the first.”

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Etixx-QuickStep in control

After leaving Dubai International Boat Club, the early part of the stage was animated by a five-man breakaway featuring Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani), Rafael Valls (Lampre-Merida), Vladimir Gusev (Skydive Dubai), Nicolas Lefrançois (Novo Nordisk) and Alessandro Bazzana (UnitedHealthCare), who escaped inside the opening 10 kilometres and most of the rest of the afternoon dangling 90 seconds or so clear of the peloton.

There was scarcely a bump on the road all day – save for a treacherous traffic calming measure on the finishing circuit – and for the opening hours of racing, the peloton was happy to amble behind and allow the quintet a certain degree of liberty. That said, the black jerseys of Etixx-QuickStep – Martin and Carlos Verona, in particular – were careful to ensure the break’s margin never escalated and once Team Sky joined the chase with 25 kilometres remaining, they were quickly reeled in.

Sky had designs on the intermediate sprint with two laps of the finishing circuit remaining, and the break was caught brusquely with a shade under 20 kilometres left. A smart solo effort from Manuel Boaro (Tinkoff-Saxo) almost denied Sky the bonus on offer, however, but an impressive cameo from Geraint Thomas allowed Ben Swift to nip ahead and pick up the maximum three seconds.

Boaro’s brief sally, incidentally, was the last genuine attempt to break the shackles of the peloton. From there, the bunch sprint was a cast-iron certainty, with Movistar, Lampre, Astana and BMC all looking to shepherd their fast men into position on the final two laps of the 8.4km finishing circuit.

With two kilometres remaining, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) put in a long, long turn on the front – as much to stay out of harm’s way as to help Guardini, perhaps – and though he melted back into the body of the peloton shortly afterwards, it was a heartening cameo from the Tour de France winner on his opening outing of the new year.

The day was all about the fast men in general, however, and Mark Cavendish in particular. The season is young and the sprints that will measure its success or otherwise are still weeks and months away, but two early wins mark an encouraging start the campaign for the 29-year-old.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mark Cavendish (GBr) Etixx - Quick-Step3:25:00 
2Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
3Elia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky  
4Alexander Porsev (Rus) Team Katusha  
5Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar Team  
6Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Giant-Alpecin  
7Andrea Palini (Ita) Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team  
8Paolo Simion (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
9Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
10Martijn Verschoor (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk  
11Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC Racing Team  
12Grega Bole (Slo) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
13John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin  
14Daniele Ratto (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
15Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
16Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
17Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
18Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
19Christian Delle Stelle (Ita) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
20Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale  
21Adil Jelloul (Mar) Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team  
22Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team  
23Soufiane Haddi (Mar) Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team  
24Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
25Anton Vorobyev (Rus) Team Katusha  
26Andrea Peron (Ita) Team Novo Nordisk  
27Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Team Katusha  
28Rafaa Chtioui (Tun) Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team  
29Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky  
30Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
31Chad Haga (USA) Team Giant-Alpecin  
32Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team  
33Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team  
34Marco Canola (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
35Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Tinkoff-Saxo  
36Robert Förster (Ger) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
37Mark Renshaw (Aus) Etixx - Quick-Step  
38Bader Alhammadi Mireza (UAE) United Aeab Emirates  
39Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale  
40Janez Brajkovic (Slo) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
41Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Team Katusha  
42Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo  
43Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
44Pablo Lastras (Spa) Movistar Team  
45Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo  
46Majid Albalooshi (UAE) United Aeab Emirates  
47Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
48Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin  
49Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
50Michal Kolár (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo  
51Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
52Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Team Giant-Alpecin  
53Gang Xu (Chn) Lampre-Merida  
54Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky  
55Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team  
56Edgar Miguel Lemos Pinto (Por) Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team  
57Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
58Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team  
59Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team  
60Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx - Quick-Step  
61Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Tinkoff-Saxo  
62Mohammed Almansoori (UAE) United Aeab Emirates  
63Chun Kai Feng (Tpe) Lampre-Merida  
64Johan Van Summeren (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale  
65Javier Megias (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk  
66Lukasz Owsian (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
67Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha  
68Egor Silin (Rus) Team Katusha  
69Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Lampre-Merida  
70Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
71Patrick Gretsch (Ger) AG2R La Mondiale  
72Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
73Adrian Kurek (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
74Jaber Almansoori (UAE) United Aeab Emirates  
75Juraj Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo  
76Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team  
77Luka Pibernik (Slo) Lampre-Merida  
78Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo  
79Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky  
80Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
81Lars Boom (Ned) Astana Pro Team  
82Andrew Fenn (GBr) Team Sky  
83Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
84Christopher Williams (Aus) Team Novo Nordisk  
85David Lozano (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk  
86Julien Vermote (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
87Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar Team  
88Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
89Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo  
90Ilia Koshevoy (Blr) Lampre-Merida  
91David Lopez (Spa) Team Sky  
92Adriano Malori (Ita) Movistar Team  
93Davide Frattini (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
94Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
95Sylwester Szmyd (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
96Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
97Damien Gaudin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
98Ian Boswell (USA) Team Sky  
99Kevin De Mesmaeker (Bel) Team Novo Nordisk  
100Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
101Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar Team  
102Jan Polanc (Slo) Lampre-Merida  
103Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team  
104Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha  
105Simone Sterbini (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
106Nicola Boem (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
107Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
108Mohammed Al Murawwi (UAE) Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team  
109Angel Vicioso (Spa) Team Katusha  
110Petr Vakoc (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step  
111Jaroslaw Marycz (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:00:46 
112Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Sky0:00:50 
113Luca Sterbini (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
114Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step0:00:57 
115Ruud Cremers (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk0:00:59 
116Nicolas Lefrancois (Fra) Team Novo Nordisk0:01:07 
117Andrea Piechele (Ita) Bardiani CSF0:01:16 
118Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin  
119Zico Waeytens (Bel) Team Giant-Alpecin0:01:33 
120Naser Al Memari (UAE) United Aeab Emirates0:01:41 
121Abdulla Almansoori (UAE) United Aeab Emirates0:02:05 
122Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step  
123Federico Zurlo (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling0:02:58 
124Thierry Hupond (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin0:03:04 
125Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Etixx - Quick-Step  
126Ammar Abdulla (UAE) United Aeab Emirates  
127Grzegorz Stepniak (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
128Essa Alsayed (UAE) United Aeab Emirates0:15:47 
General classification after stage 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mark Cavendish (GBr) Etixx - Quick-Step3:24:50 
2Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:00:04 
3Elia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky0:00:06 
4Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky0:00:07 
5Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
6Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo0:00:08 
7Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
8Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Lampre-Merida0:00:09 
9Alexander Porsev (Rus) Team Katusha0:00:10 
10Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar Team  
11Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Giant-Alpecin  
12Andrea Palini (Ita) Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team  
13Paolo Simion (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
14Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
15Martijn Verschoor (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk  
16Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC Racing Team  
17Grega Bole (Slo) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
18John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin  
19Daniele Ratto (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
20Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
21Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
22Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
23Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
24Christian Delle Stelle (Ita) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
25Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale  
26Adil Jelloul (Mar) Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team  
27Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team  
28Soufiane Haddi (Mar) Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team  
29Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
30Anton Vorobyev (Rus) Team Katusha  
31Andrea Peron (Ita) Team Novo Nordisk  
32Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Team Katusha  
33Rafaa Chtioui (Tun) Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team  
34Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
35Chad Haga (USA) Team Giant-Alpecin  
36Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team  
37Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team  
38Marco Canola (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
39Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Tinkoff-Saxo  
40Robert Förster (Ger) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
41Mark Renshaw (Aus) Etixx - Quick-Step  
42Bader Alhammadi Mireza (UAE) United Aeab Emirates  
43Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale  
44Janez Brajkovic (Slo) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
45Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Team Katusha  
46Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
47Pablo Lastras (Spa) Movistar Team  
48Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo  
49Majid Albalooshi (UAE) United Aeab Emirates  
50Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
51Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin  
52Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
53Michal Kolár (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo  
54Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
55Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Team Giant-Alpecin  
56Gang Xu (Chn) Lampre-Merida  
57Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky  
58Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team  
59Edgar Miguel Lemos Pinto (Por) Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team  
60Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
61Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team  
62Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team  
63Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx - Quick-Step  
64Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Tinkoff-Saxo  
65Mohammed Almansoori (UAE) United Aeab Emirates  
66Chun Kai Feng (Tpe) Lampre-Merida  
67Johan Van Summeren (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale  
68Javier Megias (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk  
69Lukasz Owsian (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
70Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha  
71Egor Silin (Rus) Team Katusha  
72Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
73Patrick Gretsch (Ger) AG2R La Mondiale  
74Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
75Adrian Kurek (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
76Jaber Almansoori (UAE) United Aeab Emirates  
77Juraj Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo  
78Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team  
79Luka Pibernik (Slo) Lampre-Merida  
80Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo  
81Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky  
82Lars Boom (Ned) Astana Pro Team  
83Andrew Fenn (GBr) Team Sky  
84Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
85Christopher Williams (Aus) Team Novo Nordisk  
86David Lozano (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk  
87Julien Vermote (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
88Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar Team  
89Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo  
90Ilia Koshevoy (Blr) Lampre-Merida  
91David Lopez (Spa) Team Sky  
92Adriano Malori (Ita) Movistar Team  
93Davide Frattini (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
94Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
95Sylwester Szmyd (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
96Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
97Damien Gaudin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
98Ian Boswell (USA) Team Sky  
99Kevin De Mesmaeker (Bel) Team Novo Nordisk  
100Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
101Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar Team  
102Jan Polanc (Slo) Lampre-Merida  
103Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team  
104Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha  
105Simone Sterbini (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
106Nicola Boem (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
107Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
108Mohammed Al Murawwi (UAE) Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team  
109Angel Vicioso (Spa) Team Katusha  
110Petr Vakoc (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step  
111Grzegorz Stepniak (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
112Jaroslaw Marycz (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:00:56 
113Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Sky0:00:59 
114Luca Sterbini (Ita) Bardiani CSF0:01:00 
115Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step0:01:07 
116Ruud Cremers (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk0:01:09 
117Nicolas Lefrancois (Fra) Team Novo Nordisk0:01:17 
118Andrea Piechele (Ita) Bardiani CSF0:01:26 
119Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin  
120Zico Waeytens (Bel) Team Giant-Alpecin0:01:43 
121Naser Al Memari (UAE) United Aeab Emirates0:01:51 
122Abdulla Almansoori (UAE) United Aeab Emirates0:02:15 
123Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step  
124Federico Zurlo (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling0:03:08 
125Thierry Hupond (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin0:03:14 
126Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Etixx - Quick-Step  
127Ammar Abdulla (UAE) United Aeab Emirates  
128Essa Alsayed (UAE) United Aeab Emirates0:15:57 
Points classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mark Cavendish (GBr) Etixx - Quick-Step20 pts
2Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro Team16 
3Elia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky12 
4Alexander Porsev (Rus) Team Katusha9 
5Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky8 
6Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling8 
7Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar Team7 
8Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo5 
9Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
10Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Giant-Alpecin  
11Andrea Palini (Ita) Skydive Dubai4 pts
12Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Lampre-Merida3 
13Paolo Simion (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
14Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Sky  
15Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team2 pts
16Martijn Verschoor (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk1 
17Daniele Ratto (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling  
18Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Skydive Dubai  

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