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Live coverage

Abu Dhabi Tour 2018: Stage 2


Good morning and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of stage 2 of the Abu Dhabi Tour. 

As we pick up the action, just under 60 kilometres remain. We have a five-man break with a lead of two minutes. 

In the break are:

The break are approaching an intermediate sprint...

Tonelli sprints clear from range, but no one's minded to go with him. The Italian mops up the points with ease. 

50km remaining from 154km

Rosskopf looks round and can see the advancing peloton. It looks like the catch is imminent as Alex Dowsett works for Marcel KIttel's Katusha-Alpecin team. Alejandro Valverde and his Movistar men also up towards the front. 

And there's your reason for the big increase in pace. The riders have turned into a section of crosswinds and the race is well and truly on.

Groups of riders losing contact here as the peloton fragments into echelons.

These crosswinds are doing real damage.

Kristoff caught out

Andre Greipel and Caleb Ewan are both in the front group and working hard to not let Kristoff et al back into the mix.

Kristoff looks miserable in there, with no teammates for support. Fabio Aru is up the road in the front group but he's a favourite for the overall title and won't be dropping back.  

Movistar have three men in the front group, including Valverde, and they're taking control.

38km remaining from 154km

Katusha have done well. They've got their sprinter Kittel and GC man Ilnur Zakarin in the front group, with Dowsett there for support.

Sunweb, AG2R, and Kristoff doing the chasing in group two. They're outnumbered.

34km remaining from 154km

Kristoff now has teammates but he's still up there doing turns himself.

The race leader finds help from Quick-Step, with Elia Viviani also missing out on that split. Quick-Step have Julian Alaphilippe up the road with Enric Mas, and therefore have something of a dilemma, but they appear to be chasing now. 

127km remaining from 154km

We have what is almost a complete list of riders in the front group, over on the right hand side of your screen.

23km remaining from 154km

The latest episode of the Cyclingnews Podcast is out now. We round-up all the recent racing and hear from Richie Porte, Chris Froome, Bradley Wiggins and others. 

As we come through an irrelevant intermediate sprint point, the race is coming back together. 10 seconds the gap now.

The wind's not blowing from the side anymore, and the front group know it's over.

All together. There's finally a let-up in the pace as the red jersey group comes back to the front of the race.

The fragments that were knocked off that chasing pack are also able to get back in.

16km remaining from 154km

A reminder of how things played out yesterday

And a reminder that Mark Cavendish is out of the race. He crashed in the neutral zone yesterday and suffered concussion and whiplash. 

It's a similar scene to yesterday as British neo-pro climber James Knox is put on the front for Quick-Step. It's a familiar format as we head into the last 10km and towards a bunch sprint but, unlike yesterday, that was an action-packed hour of racing.

8km remaining from 154km

Kristoff is down at the back of the bunch at the moment. He did plenty of frantic turns in those crosswinds - will he have enough left in the tank for the sprint finish?

Into the final 5km and Katusha take it up

Quick-Step and LottoNL set up on the left hand side of the road

3km remaining from 154km

2km to go and Katusha have fragmented. LottoNL looking strong on the other side of the road

Alaphilippe sprints through the flamme rouge taking it up for Quick-Step

Thee bunch splits. It's strung out on the approach to the final few hundred metres

Van Poppel opens...

Here comes Viviani though

Viviani takes it!

Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) wins stage 2 of the Abu Dhabi Tour

Danny Van Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo) finished second, Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) third, but Viviani was a convincing winner.

Viviani's Quick-Step teammates came to the fore when it mattered. The Italian was actually on the wheel of Van Poppel and produced a searing sprint to leave the others in his wake.

Top 10

General Classification after stage 2

Elia Viviani, then, takes the red jersey of overall leader. He's about to be presented on the podium.

Viviani says in his post-race interview that he told his team to work for him and set up the sprint, instead of driving the front echelon with Alaphilippe and Mas. He's fully justified that.

Tom Dumoulin is in the medical truck after crashing earlier, but it only seems to be precautionary.

That's Viviani's fourth sprint victory of the season, after a win at Tour Down Under and a brace in Dubai. It's five wins if you count the overall title in Dubai, meaning he's over half-way to his 2017 tally already. 

Here's our stage report

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