Dubai Tour 2018

February 6-10, Skydive Dubai, Dubai, Road - 2.HC

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Barry Ryan

Dubai Tour 2018 hub page
Start list
Race preview
Stage 1 Report: Groenewegen claims the spoils
Cavendish frustrated after ‘sketchy and chaotic’ sprint


  1. 93km remaining from 190km

    13:19:20 GST

    As we pick up the action, a group of six riders has a lead of three minutes over the peloton. Nathan Van Hooydonck (BMC), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis Solutions Crédit), Fuwen Xue (Mitchelton-BikeExchange), Charles Planet (Team Novo Nordisk), Mohamed Al Mansouri (United Arab Emirates) and Yousif Mirza (UAE Team Emirates) forged clear shortly after the flag dropped, and built a maximum advantage of 7 minutes inside 20 kilometres before the sprinters' teams began to reduce the gap.


  2. 13:23:22 GST

    Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) wears the blue leader's jersey after his victory on stage 1. The general classification picture is as follows:


    1 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo 3:51:25
    2 Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:00:04
    3 Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:06
    4 Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:07
    5 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:10
    6 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
    7 Jacob Hennessy (GBr) Mitchelton-Bikeexchange
    8 Eric Young (USA) Rally Cycling
    9 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
    10 Andrea Peron (Ita) Team Novo Nordisk


  3. 13:36:12 GST

    Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) made his first appearance of the season on yesterday's opening stage. The finale didn't quite go to plan for the Manxman, who was frank in his assessment. "It was just pretty chaotic in the finale, it was carnage. I was terrified for my life," he said. Stephen Farrand has the full story here.

    Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data)


  4. 13:37:09 GST

    Fortunately for Cavendish and all of the other fast men who came in behind Groenewegen yesterday, the sprinters should have a chance to dream it up all over again at the finish today.


  5. 13:41:50 GST

    John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) began his season well at Challenge Mallorca, but had to settle for 13th yesterday. He'll hope for better today, as he explained at the start: "It’s less technical today and you have more space on the road. It will be more up to the firepower in the team. We have great, strong riders to prepare the sprint and I hope we’ve done our homework to work in the same direction."


  6. 74km remaining from 190km

    13:42:45 GST

    The bunch is steadily reeling in the six escapees, with the sprinters' teams finding common cause on the front of the peloton. The break's lead has dropped to 1:50.


  7. 13:43:48 GST

    Nathan Van Hooydonck (BMC) is in the break for the second successive day, and is wearing the young rider's jersey as Groenewegen is, of course, ensconced in the overall leader's blue. 


  8. 13:46:55 GST

    You can catch up with the video highlights of yesterday's stage here. Dylan Groenewegen was full value for his victory, though Magnus Cort (Astana) pushed him very close indeed.

    Dylan Groenewegen crosses the line for victory on stage 1 of the Dubai Tour


  9. 70km remaining from 190km

    13:55:44 GST

    Marcel Kittel made his Katusha-Alpecin debut yesterday but his hopes of a winning start were derailed by an unspecified mechanical problem in the finale. "In the end Marco Haller brought me to the front, and I was about to start my sprint but then I got a technical problem. That was disappointing, but as a team we did a really good job. I think we can build from this," Kittel said after placing 17th. Stephen Farrand has the full story here.

    Marcel Kittel (Katusha Alpecin)


  10. 65km remaining from 190km

    13:57:23 GST

    Meanwhile, there's a mechanical issue for the race leader Groenewegen. The Dutchman wheels to a halt at the rear of the bunch and makes a swift bike change before chasing back on through the race convoy.


  11. 62km remaining from 190km

    14:00:44 GST

    Groenewegen has one teammate with him as he makes his way unhurriedly back towards the rear of the peloton, which is still 1:40 down on the six escapees.


  12. 14:06:44 GST

    Groenewegen is safely back in the peloton after his bike change. The Dutchman hoped his victory on the Champs-Elysees on the final day of the Tour de France would herald his elevation to the elite category of sprinters, and he has started his 2018 campaign in the best possible way against as strong a complement of sprinters as is possible to find at this early point in the year.


  13. 14:12:30 GST

    Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) had to settle for 5th on his first race day of 2018 yesterday. It's a year of change for the Frenchman, who has a new manager at Cofidis, with Cedric Vasseur replacing Yvon Sanquer. One of Vasseur's first acts has been to reduce the size of the sprint train around Bouhanni, but the new boss maintains that he has added to the sprint entourage in other ways, including by hiring Roberto Damiani as directeur sportif. 


  14. 14:13:20 GST

    "Roberto is the one who can give Nacer what was missing when it comes to winning a race like Milan-San Remo," Vasseur said. "In the past he’s been there to win but also missed something. Roberto has helped guys like Petacchi win so he knows how to deal with the win. He’s also someone who is quiet and relaxed. That can compliment Nacer is who a different personality. That different mental approach, I think, will make a big difference."

    Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) after the stage 10 sprint


  15. 53km remaining from 190km

    14:14:58 GST

    Katusha-Alpecin are doing the bulk of the work at the head of the peloton in the service of Kittel, though Groenewegen's LottoNL-Jumbo squad have committed one man to the chase effort. There's no need for any urgency just yet, mind, with the break's lead hovering at around 1:20.


  16. 14:20:07 GST

    The other racing action this week is taking place in South America at the inaugural Colombia Oro y Paz race. Patrick Fletcher is in Colombia for Cyclingnews, and this is his report from yesterday's opening stage, where Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) sent the local fans home happy with a dominant sprint win.

    Fernando Gaviria wins the opening stage of Colombia Oro y Paz


  17. 46km remaining from 190km

    14:24:12 GST

    After closing to within a minute of the break. the peloton has slackened off in the last few kilometres and the gap has extended to 1:42.


  18. 43km remaining from 190km

    14:26:58 GST

    The break, incidentally, has been reduced to four riders, as both Yousif Mirza and Nathan Van Hooydonck have sat up. That leaves Charles Planet (Novo Nordisk), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Fuwen Xue (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) and Mohammed Almansoori (United Arab Emirates) at the front with a lead of 2:00 over the bunch.


  19. 14:29:05 GST

    And then there were three. Almansoori has knocked off his effort at the front, and waves to the cameras as he drops back to the bunch. While Mirza and Van Hooydonck have likelyy dropped back following team orders, Almansoori seems to have paid a toll for his efforts on the front.


  20. 41km remaining from 190km

    14:30:37 GST

    The slackening of pace in the peloton has allowed the three surviving escapees to extend their lead to 2:20, but there is no cause for panic in the bunch at this early juncture. The sprinters' teams will feel they have ample room for manoeuvre ahead of the finale.


  21. 14:39:15 GST

    Away from the Dubai Tour, Dave Brailsford has spoken publicly for the first time since news broke of Chris Froome's adverse analytical finding for salbutamol, saying "For me, there’s no question, he’s done nothing wrong – no question, no question, no question." In keeping with the tenor of his, er, long-standing commitment to transparency, Brailsford refused to answer questions from Cyclingnews at the Colombia Paz y Oro, but Patrick Fletcher was on hand when the Sky manager spoke with a huddle of reporters at the race. You can read the full story here. "At this moment we totally back Chris Froome," Brailsford said. 


  22. 34km remaining from 190km

    14:40:15 GST

    Back at the Dubai Tour, Katusha-Alpecin are beginning to crank up the pace a notch in the peloton, and the break's lead has dropped back inside two minutes.


  23. 31km remaining from 190km

    14:43:41 GST

    Planet, Edet and Xue continue to exchange turns at the front of the race, but their lead is dropping inexorably and is now down to 1:33.


  24. 28km remaining from 190km

    14:48:17 GST

    Mark Cavendish is surrounded by Dimension Data teammates as he moves up in the bunch. The break's advantage has dropped to 1:10.


  25. 23km remaining from 190km

    14:55:48 GST

    • Puncture

    A rear wheel puncture for Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors), who opts for a wheel change rather than a switch of bikes. It's hardly a resounding advert for the use of disc brakes in the professional peloton: this wheel change is anything but swift.


  26. 21km remaining from 190km

    14:56:37 GST

    The bunch is 43 seconds down on the escapees. Viviani, after his lengthy stop, is a further minute back, but is chasing his way back on through the team cars.


  27. 15:00:29 GST

    The Chris Froome affair is, of course, dominating the news cycle in these early weeks of 2018, just as the Alberto Contador case cast a long shadow over the 2011 campaign. Giro director Mauro Vegni is on the Dubai Tour and has said that he can't stop Froome from riding the race if his case is not resolved by May. "Froome is welcome at the Giro d’Italia, but if he then wins the pink jersey, he’ll always be the winner for me, even he is suspended and disqualified from the results," Vegni said. Stephen Farrand has the full story here.


  28. 17.5km remaining from 190km

    15:01:30 GST

    Elia Viviani has safely rejoined the peloton, and a platoon of Quick-Step teammates are guiding him towards the front as the pace continues to ratchet upwards. 21 seconds the gap to the three escapees.


  29. 15:02:45 GST

    Vincenzo Nibali is riding at the head of Bahrain-Merida's train for the time being, using his work for Sonny Colbrelli to dust off some early cobwebs. Katusha-Alpecin are also gathered en masse at the front but Bram Tankink, prominent for LottoNL-Jumbo through the day, has dropped away from the head of the bunch.


  30. 15km remaining from 190km

    15:04:03 GST

    Planet, Edet and Xue have just 16 seconds in hand on the peloton, and they surely won't last too much longer off the front of the race.


  31. 14km remaining from 190km

    15:05:40 GST

    The sprinters' teams are gathering in formation towards the head of the bunch, with Katusha-Alpecin, Bahrain-Merida, LottoNL-Jumbo and Quick-Step Floors among those prominent.


  32. 15:06:42 GST

    Planet, Xue and Edet cast ever more frequent glances over their shoulders. They know their escape is petering out.


  33. 13km remaining from 190km

    15:07:21 GST

    Xue sits up, resigned to his fate. Planet and Edet decide to persist, but they have just 12 seconds in hand on the looming peloton.


  34. 10km remaining from 190km

    15:10:53 GST

    Katusha-Alpecin continue to make the running as the peloton hits the final 10 kilometres. Edet and Planet are still clutching to a slender lead of 10 seconds, but their fate is already sealed.


  35. 9.5km remaining from 190km

    15:11:57 GST

    A handshake from Edet and Planet signals the end of their adventure, and they are swept up by the peloton. A bunch sprint will, of course, decide the spoils today.


  36. 8km remaining from 190km

    15:13:00 GST

    Dimension Data, Aqua Blue and Astana all nudge their way towards the front for the first time as the intensity ratchets up another notch.


  37. 7km remaining from 190km

    15:14:43 GST

    The wide, exposed roads on the run-in mean that there is, for now at least, ample room for several lead-out trains to operate side by side.


  38. 6km remaining from 190km

    15:15:30 GST

    Kittel and his Katusha-Alpecin team have dropped back significantly in the last two kilometres, though the German still has a lot of teammates around him and will surely be a factor in the sprint.


  39. 5km remaining from 190km

    15:16:45 GST

    Buoyed by Magnus Cort's second place yesterday, Astana Pro Team are well positioned here. Wilier Triestina are currently on the front in the service of Jakub Mareczko.


  40. 4km remaining from 190km

    15:17:20 GST

    The road narrows at the 4km to go mark, but all of the sprinters' teams are safely through that bottleneck.


  41. 3km remaining from 190km

    15:18:15 GST

    Back on wide roads and the speed is ferocious, but no one team is able to control affairs here. Degenkolb's Trek squad are moving up.


  42. 2km remaining from 190km

    15:19:07 GST

    Katusha-Alpecin hit the front again with a shade under 2 kilometres to go, though Kittel himself still has work to do to move up.


  43. 1km remaining from 190km

    15:19:56 GST

    Marco Haller leads Katusha-Alpecin into the final kilometre, but there is relative chaos behind him.


  44. 15:20:25 GST

    Alexander Kristoff sits in third as the sprint begins...


  45. 15:20:47 GST

    Marezcko goes from distance, but Viviani and Cavendish are moving up...


  46. 15:21:12 GST

    Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) wins stage 2 of the Dubai Tour.


  47. 15:22:31 GST

    Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) came from a long way back to take second on the stage. Riccardo Minali (Astana) finished third.


  48. 15:24:35 GST

    Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) faded slightly in the final 50 metres to finish 4th, while Degenkolb took 5th. The margins were tight in that sprint, but Viviani was a clear winner.


  49. 15:25:15 GST

    Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) will retain the overall lead thanks to his second place finish.


  50. 15:27:00 GST



    1 Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors 04:34:31
    2 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
    3 Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana Pro Team
    4 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data
    5 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
    6 Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team
    7 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
    8 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team
    9 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
    10 Adam Blythe (GBr) Aqua Blue Sport


  51. 15:28:07 GST

    In the overall standings, Viviani is 2 seconds behind Groenewegen, while Nathan Van Hooydonck (BMC) lies third at 9 seconds thanks to the bonuses he picked up after his second successive day in the break.


  52. 15:30:24 GST

    General Classification after stage 2:


    1 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo 08:25:50
    2 Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors 00:00:02
    3 Nathan Van Hooydonk (Bel) BMC Racing 00:00:09
    4 Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team 00:00:09
    5 Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 00:00:10
    6 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:12
    7 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 00:00:16
    8 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
    9 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
    10 Jacob Hennessy (GBr) Mitchelton-BikeExchange



  53. 15:39:31 GST

    Elia Viviani, incidentally, turned 29 day and could have hardly have asked for more from the occasion. Often an afterthought at Team Sky, the Italian seems to be thriving in his leadership role at Quick-Step. After a stage win at the Tour Down Under last month, this is Viviani's second victory in Quick-Step blue. It also means he keeps pace with his sprint stable-mate Fernando Gaviria, who notched up his second win of the season in Colombia yesterday.


  54. 15:49:07 GST

    Elia Viviani came back from a mechanical to win stage 2


  55. 15:49:39 GST

    Elia Viviani wins stage 2 of the Dubai Tour


  56. 15:51:58 GST

    It shouldn't be overlooked that Viviani endured a wheel change from hell in the final 20 kilometres today. Our man in Dubai Stephen Farrand estimates that it took 49 seconds for Viviani to get his disc-brake-equipped rear wheel changed, but he calmly made his way back to the bunch and held his sangfroid as he navigated his way towards the front on his return.


  57. 15:54:08 GST

    In a bunch sprint, the winner is always right, of course, but Viviani seemed to get his timing just right in the finishing straight here. Kristoff and Marezcko went a little too early, while Groenewegen left it too late. Viviani's effort was pitch-perfect. 


  58. 15:58:18 GST

    After missing out on unleashing the full force of his sprint yesterday, Mark Cavendish picked his way through the chaos to get in the mix for the win today. Cavendish's stated aim is to be in winning form by the time his three-week stint in the Gulf concludes at the Abu Dhabi Tour, and he seems on course. Today was just his second race day of the year, after all, and, given that he was facing a rider (Viviani) with the Tour Down Under in his legs, Cavendish won't be unduly concerned by how the final 50 metres played out here.


  59. 16:01:40 GST

    Marcel Kittel will be more frustrated, having failed to make an impression in the sprint for the second successive day, despite the work of his Katusha-Alpecin team throughout the stage. It was, however, just his second outing in the colours of Katusha-Alpecin and some teething troubles are perhaps inevitable. "We learn more from our defeats than our victories. If we continue like this, our first win isn't far away," Kittel said after the finish today.


  60. 16:12:21 GST

    Elia Viviani on his stage win: “Having my birthday today added to my motivation. Losing yesterday was also good for my head. Overnight we felt like we missed one chance that would never be given back. I feel I'm in good condition and have the legs for winning. I had a mechanical but luckily it was with 20km to go and I had time to come back. With 500m to go, my lead out man Fabio Sabatini closed the gap. I chose Kristoff's wheel. I saw Groenewegen coming back with 50m to go, but finally the line was in the right place for me to win. I'm pretty happy.”

    Elia Viviani gets his trophy for winning the stage


  61. 16:14:18 GST

    Dylan Groenewegen saved his blue jersey but was disappointed to miss out on a second victory given his current form. The Dutchman made up a lot of ground in the final 50 metres, but had simply left himself with too much to do. "It's very hard to come only second today after winning yesterday," Groenewegen said. "I had mechanical problems with my first bike, and also with the second 1.5km before the finish. That's how I lost my sprint train and I came very late to the front for sprinting. The only good point for today is that I'm still in the lead of the overall classification but I wanted to win the stage.”

    Dylan Groenewegen in the jersey for race leader


  62. 16:32:06 GST




    1 Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors 04:34:31
    2 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
    3 Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana Pro Team
    4 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data
    5 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
    6 Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team
    7 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
    8 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team
    9 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
    10 Adam Blythe (GBr) Aqua Blue Sport



    General Classification after stage 2:


    1 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo 08:25:50
    2 Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors 00:00:02
    3 Nathan Van Hooydonk (Bel) BMC Racing 00:00:09
    4 Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team 00:00:09
    5 Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 00:00:10
    6 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:12
    7 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 00:00:16
    8 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
    9 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
    10 Jacob Hennessy (GBr) Mitchelton-BikeExchange



  63. 16:33:52 GST

    Thanks for following live coverage of stage 2 of the Dubai Tour on Cyclingnews. We'll be back with more tomorrow, but in the meantime, you can find a full report, result and pictures from today's stage here, while Stephen Farrand will have all the news and reaction from Dubai.


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