The Dubai Tour ends today with dash through the city of Dubai.
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Welcome to the final stage of the Dubai Tour! We will wrap things up with a city stage, and crown our overall winner.
This race expanded to five stages this year, but ironically only four will be run. The loss of the mountain stage turns this into a totally sprinters' race.
The race has started on a lovely sunny day!
As you know, yesterday's Hatta stage was first shortened, and then cancelled, due to high winds and blowing sand.
Here is our top five coming into this final stage:
1 Marcel Kittel (Quick Step Floors)
2 Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo)
3 John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo)
4 Nicola Boem (Bardiani CSF)
5 Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC)
And chances are very good that this will also be the final GC.
115km remaining from 124km
We had our first break attempt. After 6 km, Dimitry Gruzdev (Astana) and Karol Domagalski (One Pro Cycling) took off and gained 20 seconds before being gathered back in.
110km remaining from 124km
After 14 km, things are still all together.
A lot of people who were not at the scene yesterday have questioned the decision to cancel the stage. However, those involved were all unanimous that it was the right thing to do. You can read about it here, and look at some windy, sandy photos.
Dimension Data is working hard at the front of the field, keeping things together. They really want to get the win today for Mark Cavendish.
So far this his been a race for the German sprinters. Marcel Kittel has won two stages and John Degenkolb one.
99km remaining from 124km
It has been a fast start here, and with one-fifth of the stage covered, we still have everyone together.
96km remaining from 124km
Five riders are finally trying to get away. One of them is Joey Rosskopf of BMC. Will this be the break of the day or will they soon be back in the fold?
Nope, it was not to be. Caught at 31 km.
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There have been a lot of sprints so far in this young season. On our podcast, we took a look t them and discussed who is looking best so far. PLus that little dust-up on stage 3, which saw Kittel bloodied but unbowed.
89km remaining from 124km
We have action! Quick-Step, around race leader Kittel, has taken over control. A large group of 14 tried its luck, but the Belgian team was not about to allow that. Now two riders have taken off, apparently with QS approval.
One of these names is familiar, Dimitry Gruzdev (Astana), who already tried to get away early on. He is joined by Matteo Bono, of UAE -Abu Dhabi.
88km remaining from 124km
Those two have now been joined by Floris Gerts (BMC) and Ivan Garcia Cortina (Bahrain-Merida). After 36 km, they have a lead of 1:10.
The Herald Sun Tour is still going full force this weekend. Stage 3 featured a crash-filled finish, with the win going to Travis McCabe of UnitedHealthcare.
70km remaining from 124km
With 70b km to go, the gap is 1:23. And the first hour has had an average speed of 49.300 km/h.
Several races have already been cancelled lately, and it looks as if the Tour of Turkey may be another one. Scheduling changes and security questions are the problem here, keeping the necessary WorldTour teams away.
The field isn't letting this group get too far away. And we bet they are all enjoying the lack of wind and sand in their faces.
Kittel has been riding and winning with disc brakes here in Dubai. These are still controversial, although they seem to be gaining acceptance.
The field is really keeping this group on a short line. 52 km to go and a gap of 1:15.
The intermediate sprint and bonus seconds go to Garcia Cortina ahead of Gerts.
40km remaining from 124km
Into the final 40km of racing and the gap is holding at just over one minute. QuickStep still on the front of the bunch and setting the pace. We're settling in for another sprint finish.
The bunch are riding along the seafront with the Dubai skyline to their left hand side. The pace is gradually increasing though so there's no chance to take in the sights.
@Bahrain_Merida Sat, 4th Feb 2017 10:29:33
29km remaining from 124km
Another intermediate sprint is coming up, with the gap down to 47 seconds now.
Gruzdev jumps early to grab the intermediate sprint points and bonus seconds. Ferts wa the only one to follow but didn't really contest against the Astana rider.
And the field passes the sprint marker only 34 seconds later.
We love our readers and how much attention they pay to the races.They even send in advice to the pro riders!
Geraint Thomas will be getting his chance to win the Giro d'Italia for Team Sky this year, coach tim Kerrision tells us.
20 km to go and only 29 seconds.
We have lots of top sprinters here, and it will be interesting to see who wins today -- Kittel, Degenkolb, Cavendish? We talked about sprinters in the early part of this season on our most recent podcast.
Today it is Julian Alaphilippe who is doing the lead work for QuickStep.
123km remaining from 124km
Under 20 seconds now. The sprinters' teams are forming at the front.
Under the 10km marker, and the gap is very narrow. The catch will be made momentarily.
And that's it, over at 9.3km.
All the usual suspects are up front: QuickStep, Trek, DiData....
And Bahrain-Merida, with those distinctive gold helmets.
Sky now moving up at the front.
5 km and the expected high pace.
Alaphilippe carrying the field along again.
Now LottoNL-Jumbo moves up, looking to set up Groenewegen for the win.
The final km!
Di Date up front, with QS moving up.
Dimension Data led the way up, with Groenewegen in second wheel. But once again it was Kittel who powered his way to a narrow victory at the last moment.
Hugs and smiles for the happy winner.
Mark Renshaw put in a strong lead out for Cavendish, but no one can beat Kittel right now.
Second place went to Elia Viviani (Sky), with Riccardo Minaldi (Astana) third. Cavendish and Degenkolb rounded out the top five.
Seems like nothing can stop Kittel. He said that his final lead-out man is Fabio Sabatini and his chain fell off in the finale.
@quickstepteam Sat, 4th Feb 2017 11:14:52
Kittel of course takes the GC title, for the second year in a row. Groenewegen and Degenkolb are on the other podium stages.
This seems to be a race for the Germans. Kittel takes three stages, the points jersey and the overall title, with the other stage win going to Degenkolb.
@quickstepteam Sat, 4th Feb 2017 11:21:28
That gives Quick Step an astonishing 10 wins so early in the season. Perhaps more impressive is that the wins come from 5 different riders.
And that wraps up another race! Thanks for reading along!
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