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Dubai Tour: Sprinters relaxed before first clash - Gallery

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John Degenkolb and Marcel Kittel chat at the Dubai Tour press conference

John Degenkolb and Marcel Kittel chat at the Dubai Tour press conference
(Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Team Sky at the Dubai Tour presentation

Team Sky at the Dubai Tour presentation
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Chris Williams and Charles Planet

Chris Williams and Charles Planet
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marcel Kittel

Marcel Kittel
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marcel Kittel

Marcel Kittel
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marcel Kittel

Marcel Kittel
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Elia Viviani

Elia Viviani
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mark Cavendish

Mark Cavendish
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Yousif Mirza

Yousif Mirza
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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John Degenkolb, Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish

John Degenkolb, Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mark Cavendish

Mark Cavendish
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Charles Planet and Chris Williams

Charles Planet and Chris Williams
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Elia Viviani, John Degenkolb, Marcel Kittel, Mark Cavendish and Yousif Mirza

Elia Viviani, John Degenkolb, Marcel Kittel, Mark Cavendish and Yousif Mirza
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The BMC Racing team in Dubai

The BMC Racing team in Dubai
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Teams take the stage at the Dubai Tour presentation

Teams take the stage at the Dubai Tour presentation
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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BMC Racing is front and center at the Dubai Tour presentation

BMC Racing is front and center at the Dubai Tour presentation
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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BMC Racing take the stage at the Dubai Tour presentation

BMC Racing take the stage at the Dubai Tour presentation
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Novo Nordisk riders are introduced at the Dubai Tour presentation

Novo Nordisk riders are introduced at the Dubai Tour presentation
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Quick-Step Floors ready to race in Dubai

Quick-Step Floors ready to race in Dubai
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Quick-Step Floors ready to race in Dubai

Quick-Step Floors ready to race in Dubai
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Quick-Step Floors on stage at the Dubai Tour presentation

Quick-Step Floors on stage at the Dubai Tour presentation
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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BMC Racing

BMC Racing
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Teams take the stage at the Dubai Tour presentation

Teams take the stage at the Dubai Tour presentation
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marcel Kittel, Mark Cavendish and Elia Viviani

Marcel Kittel, Mark Cavendish and Elia Viviani
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Elia Viviani

Elia Viviani
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Viviani, Degenkolb, Kittel, Cavendish and Mirza.

Viviani, Degenkolb, Kittel, Cavendish and Mirza.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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John Degenkolb and Marcel Kittel

John Degenkolb and Marcel Kittel
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Viviani, Degenkolb, Kittel, Cavendish and Mirza.

Viviani, Degenkolb, Kittel, Cavendish and Mirza.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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John Degenkolb captures a selfie in Dubai with Marcel Kittel

John Degenkolb captures a selfie in Dubai with Marcel Kittel
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marcel Kittel looks out over the scenery in Dubai.

Marcel Kittel looks out over the scenery in Dubai.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Marcel Kittel at the Dubai Tour press conference

Marcel Kittel at the Dubai Tour press conference
(Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Yousif Mirza (UAE - UAE Abu Dhabi) at the Dubai Tour press conference

Yousif Mirza (UAE - UAE Abu Dhabi) at the Dubai Tour press conference
(Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Rider play a game of chess in Dubai

Rider play a game of chess in Dubai
(Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Riders try their hands at chess in Dubai

Riders try their hands at chess in Dubai
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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An audience memberr captures a photo at the Dubai Tour press conference

An audience memberr captures a photo at the Dubai Tour press conference
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Rider on the dais at the Dubai Tour press conference

Rider on the dais at the Dubai Tour press conference
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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John Degenkolb

John Degenkolb
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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John Degenkolb

John Degenkolb
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mark Cavendish and Elia Viviani

Mark Cavendish and Elia Viviani
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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An audience memberr captures a photo at the Dubai Tour press conference

An audience memberr captures a photo at the Dubai Tour press conference
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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 Lorenzo Giorgetti of RCS Sport talks about the Dubai Tour

Lorenzo Giorgetti of RCS Sport talks about the Dubai Tour
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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 Lorenzo Giorgetti of RCS Sport talks about the Dubai Tour

Lorenzo Giorgetti of RCS Sport talks about the Dubai Tour
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Yousif Mirza

Yousif Mirza
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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John Degenkolb, Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish

John Degenkolb, Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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John Degenkolb, Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish

John Degenkolb, Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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John Degenkolb at the Dubai Tour press conference

John Degenkolb at the Dubai Tour press conference
(Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)

The big-name sprinters gathered for the traditional pre-race Dubai Tour press conference on Monday afternoon. Yet while boxing weigh-ins before a prize fight are often tense, with the odd punch flying, Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel, John Degenkolb and Elia Viviani were far more passive than aggressive, seemingly uninterested in whipping up a rivalry on the first sprint showdown of the 2017 season.

Earlier the four sprinters posed for photos overlooking the Palm Jumeirah and in front of a chess set. Hopefully Tuesday’s first sprint finish on the edge of the Palm Jumeirah will spark more action.

Cavendish has been in the in the UAE for a week and his sunburnt cheeks highlighted his slim face. Nobody can accuse the Manxman of being out of shape this year. Cavendish has had just two and half weeks off during the winter after racing deep into November. As a consequence, he claimed he does not know how he will perform in the sprints.

“I’ve been here a week, I love it out here in UAE. There are more and more spectators now and with the start in the Marina, it’s a race riders want to comeback to. I know I do,” he said genuinely enthusiastic about his season debut.

“This year we’ll see how it goes. I didn’t finish the season until the end of November, I’m usually in training for the new season by then, so we need to see where I am. We’ve got a good Dimension Data team here and we’ll try to do as well as we can.”

Team Sky target the sprints and overall success

Elia Viviani looked fresh but had flown in from Argentina via Italy after making his season debut in the Vuelta a San Juan as part of an Italian national squad. He quit the race on Friday due to stomach problems after collecting three second places in sprints. He is hoping to step up here and use his form from Argentina to surprise his rivals who are making their season debut in Dubai.

Degenkolb back to his best

John Degenkolb won on Hatta Dam in 2015 with a huge effort on the short but steep climb to the finish line. He missed last year’s race after he and his teammates were hit by a car while training in Spain. He made a gradual but successful comeback during the 2016 season but is looking to get back to his best and build for the spring Classics this week after moving to Trek-Segafredo during the winter. He joked with fellow German Marcel Kittel before the press conference got underway but his intentions are serious.