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Dubai Tour 2017: Stage 2

 Welcome back to Dubai! We expect another sprint finish today on stage 2 of the race.

Today we are taking on another 188 flat kilometers from Dubai to Ras Al Khaimah, with another exciting sprint finish!

After 36 km, five riders have a gap of 3:38. Mark Christian (Aqua Blue), Simone Andrneetta (Bardiani-CSF), Jempy Druker (BMC), Peter Williams (One Pro Cycling), and Yousif Mirza (UAE Abu Dhabi) got away 20 km into the day.

Marcel Kittel is wearing the leader's jersey today, having rather easily romped to the sprint win yesterday.

 

Here is how they finished yesterday: 

1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors 4:06:33

2 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo

3 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data

4 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo

5 Sacha Modolo (Ita) Team UAE Abu Dhabi

And here are the top five in GC. The riders in the break yesterday picked up bonus seconds, which moved them up in the rankings. 

1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors 4:06:23

2 Nicola Boem (Ita) Bardiani CSF 0:00:03

3 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 0:00:04

4 Thomas Stewart (GBr) ONE Pro Cycling

5 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data 0:00:06

132km remaining from 188km

After 56 km, the gap has jumped to 4:11.

 

Kittel leads the points ranking, of course, and the line-up there is the same as the GC.

We had one DNF yesterday, Lars Petter Nordhaug of Aqua Blue, who crashed during the stage.

 

Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) leads the young rider ranking, ahead of Simone consonni (UAE-Abu Dhabi) and Riccardo Minali (Astana).  

The break group wrapped up all the intermediate sprint points, so Nicola Boem (Bardiani) leads that ranking, ahead of Thomas Stewart (One Pro) and Silvan Dillier (BMC).

Leader in the team ranking is UAE Abu Dhabi. And there was no mountain ranking in the first stage.

 

 

114km remaining from 188km

After 74 km, the gap is at 4:20.

 

The gap has been corrected to 4:24. We have already had one intermediate sprint, which was won by Drucker.

 

Was Kittel happy to win yesterday and take the race lead? Well, of course. He was also very happy with his disc brakes. 

 

There's lots of racing going on today, all over the world. The prologue of the Herald Sun Tour just ended, with Danny van Poppel winning.

 

Groenewegen was a surprise second yesterday, ahead of a lot of big names. He can't wait to take them on again. 

 

98km remaining from 188km

After 90 km, the gap has dropped to 3:53. The average speed is 42.8 km/h

 

Why was Cavendish "only" third yesterday? Because he flatted with several kms to go. But as he put it, "I hit a pot hole. Shit happens, doesn't it?""

 

Drucker wins the second intermediate sprint as well!

 

After 95 km we are roughly at the halfway point. The field is content to let the break group maintain its 3:28 lead, knowing it will catch them again in time for the bunch sprint.

 

Having taken the maximum points at the two intermediate sprints, Drucker is leaving the lead group and falling back to the peloton.

 

Over in the Herald Sun Tour, we now have top ten results. 

 

Let's get up close and personal with Ian Stannard's Pinarello Dogma F10, ok?

 

71km remaining from 188km

Meanwhile, the gap has dropped to 2:16.

 

Mirza is the virtual race leader at the moment.

 

I've never been too fond of bridges, myself, and things like this don't make me like them any more.  What a save! 

 

66km remaining from 188km

Time for the peloton to dial the speed down a notch or two. The gap is down to 1:58 but there is still 66b km to go.

 

Today's course runs near the coast, so we are seeing significantly more green and water than usual.

 

Christian, Andreetta, Williams and Mizra are continuing on at the head of things. The gap has gone up slightly to 2:18.

 

The BEAT Cycling Club is trying out a new format to form a professional cycling team. They have signed Theo Bos to not only serve as a club ambassador but to also be the basis for a track team.

 

 Less than 50 km to go now.

As we said, there is lots of racing today (hooray!). This afternnoon Valencia kicks off with a very challenging team time trial.

 

 We are seeing lots of interesting islands today. Some are natural, some are not.

Meanwhile, a Movistar rider taxis a load of water bottles up to his teammates. 

Quick Step is taking its leadership responsibilities seriously. Bob Jungels and Julien Vermote have been at the head of the field for a loooong time.

 

38km remaining from 188km

The gap is coming down again, only 1:25 with 38 km to go.

 

The gap got down to just barely over one minute, but now is slowly going back up to 1:15.

 

Kittel had some thoughts about this race on his website yesterday. "This Tour is really perfect for sprinters to start the season with. And also for everyone who simply wants to gather kilometers. The weather is super, not too warm and not too cold. Today it was totally flat with two curves ;-) Tomorrow we go right along the sea. We will see whether the wind will play a role."

 Down to only 56 seconds now, with 30 km to go. 

Chris Froome finished 26th, seven seconds down, on the only 2.1 km long prologue in the Jayco Herald Sun Tour. But he has excellent chances to take charge in the coming stages. 

 

Dimension Data up near the front of things now, en masse. They want to make sure that Cavendish takes the win today!

 

It could be an interesting finish today. There is a 90 degree left hand turn with 1.5km to go, then straight to the finish line. Let's hope everyone gets through that turn safely.

 

With 20 km to go, the gap is at 54 seconds. The four riders in front shouldn't have any false hopes of making it alone to the finish, though.

 

A Quick Step rider leads the peloton, followed by several different team riders, and then a whole bunch of Dimension Data.

 

The field is going by a very refreshing looking water park, but they don't have eyes for it right now.

 

Time to get serious here, folks. 13.5 km and 40 seconds. 

 

Sonny Colbrelli just isn't having any luck in this race. Yesterday he crashed near the end, and now he has punctured with 12 km to go.

 

We will have the catch any second now. The break group was away for a long time, but that time is now over.

 

Quick Step leads the way under the 10km marker.

 

The teams are all hanging together, too early to start anything yet with 6.6km to go.

 

Colbrelli must be recovered from his puncture, as his Bahrain Merida team is moving up.

 

LottoNL Jumbo moves to the left side, forming a long yellow line.

 

There is room for everyone to set up their sprint train here, or rather there was. They just exited a six-lane road for a two-lane road.

 

Bahrain Merdia, Dimension Data, Trek all at the front. 

 

That big turn is coming up now.

 

Everyone through safely. But it looks  if Kittel has been trapped in rather far back. Lotto NL Jumbo at the front!

 

Last km -- Cavendish and Kittel not in the mix today!

 

Degenkolb goe early but too early. But who wins? Kittel! Where did he come from?????

 

Kittel was very far back and no one expected to see him. but he really turned on the turbo and simply powered his way to the front.

 

Degenkolb went for the win but too early. Groenewegen passed him and might have taken it, if not for Kittel's exceptional legs.

 

Groenewegen took second again with Jakkub Mareczko (Willier) third, and Degenkolb again fourth.

 

Top ten on the stage: 

1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors 04:25:33

2 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo

3 Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Wilier Triestina

4 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo

5 Sacha Modolo (Ita) Team UAE Abu Dhabi

6 Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Team LottoNl-Jumbo

7 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data

8 Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana Pro Team

9 Marco Maronese (Ita) Bardiani CSF

10 Adam Blythe (GBr) Aqua Blue Sport

Quick Step is the team of the early season -- they have won their last four races! Richeze took the final two stages in San Juan, and now Kittel the first two stages in Dubai. That gives the team eight wins on the year.

 

And the top ten in GC:

1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors 08:31:46

2 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 00:00:08

3 Nicola Boem (Ita) Bardiani CSF 00:00:13

4 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team 00:00:14

5 Thomas Stewart (GBr) One Pro Cycling

6 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data 00:00:16

7 Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Wilier Triestina

8 Yousif Mirza (UAE) UAE Abu Dhabi

9 Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing Team

10 Peter Williams (GBr) One Pro Cycling 00:00:19

This is Kittel's seventh win at the Dubai Tour, having raced it only three times. 

 

 

Wrap up the stage with some photos and our race report. Enjoy and be sure to join us again tomorrow!

 

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