Live coverage of stage 2 of the inaugural UAE Tour, a flat 184km stage in Abu Dhabi.
- UAE Tour preview
- Stage 1: Jumbo-Visma win team time trial
- Mark Cavendish: I don't remember what it's like to feel normal anymore
- Ewan 'well on the way' to reaching top form for Milan-San Remo
Hello there and a warm welcome to our live race centre for stage 2 of the all-new UAE Tour. After the TTT on the opening day, the riders are on their road bikes for a flat stage in Abu Dhabi that's likely to come down to a bunch sprint.
As we pick up the action, it's anything but a dull procession, with crosswinds blowing the race to pieces.
Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) and Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep) are the big names to have been caught out in the crosswinds.
There's a four-man breakaway out there, containing:
Igor Boev (Gazprom-RusVelo)
Stepan Kuriyanov (Gazprom-RusVelo)
Sam Brand (Novo Nordisk)
Charles Planet (Novo Nordisk)
92km remaining from 184km
The quartet once had a lead of more than 12 minutes as the day started out very quietly. However, since the race hit the coastal roads, the pace in the peloton lifted dramatically as it split into echelons and the gap is now down to 2:40.
The peloton has split in two in the crosswinds. The front part - the second group on the road behind the breakaway - only contains around 20 or so riders. The rest of the field is a further minute back.
The desert sand is being blown straight across the road.
World champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) is one of the GC riders to have made this front echelon.
Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal), Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) and Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) are the big-name sprinters in the first main group.
83km remaining from 184km
Kuriyanov wins the intermediate sprint but the break's lead is plummeting. The front peloton of 25 is only a minute back. The larger peloton is as 2:10, and there's a fourth group on the road at 4 minutes.
Race leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) is safely in the front echelon.
The riders go through the feed zone but there's no time for a leisurely lunch. The pace remains high.
Mark Cavendish and Elia Viviani are at the back of the large section of the peloton - the third group on the road - hoping this comes back together.
The pace has eased in the front peloton. They're looking around wondering what to do but they're not pressing on at the moment.
The pace has picked back up but the lull has seen the gap between the two main groups come down to 25 seconds.
Some of the names in the first peloton of 25:
Gallopin, Baska, Schachmann, Devenyns, Haussler, Modolo, Ewan, Gaviria, Roglic, Kittel, Troia, van Rensburg, Kwiatkowski, Nibali, Valverde, Izagirre, Clarke, Bewley.
The riders are on the wide highways again and the breakaway are in sight at 20 seconds.
75km remaining from 184km
The riders are still spread across the road in echelon formation.
74km remaining from 184km
The breakaway are caught by the group of 25.
The second peloton is still at 25 seconds.
Viviani's Quick-Step are on the front of the second group trying to drag it back.
And it's coming back. They're sitting up in the front group.
72km remaining from 184km
The two groups merge and it's back together.
There's still another group of riders further back, among them Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo). No time check at the moment.
The pace is much more sedate now and that allows Planet and Kuriyanov to go on the attack once more and form another breakaway.
Richie Porte's group has been able to get back in.
63km remaining from 184km
So the peloton is pretty much all back together, with two breakaway riders up the road. Jumbo-Visma are setting an easy pace. As you were.
The pace is so low that Planet and Kurianov have opened up a lead of 3:15.
The flurry of action in the crosswinds failed to definitively split the bunch, but it will have sapped the legs of the sprinters, which could be a factor come the finish.
The peloton are currently riding at 25km/h...
Caleb Ewan looked good in the echelons earlier. He spoke to our reporter Sadhbh O'Shea and explained that he's not in top shape here, but will be for Milan-San Remo in a month's time. Here's the full story:
The two breakaway riders now have 5:15.
Jumbo-Visma decide enough's enough and start to raise the pace once again in the peloton.
For a re-cap of how Jumbo-Visma won the opening-day TTT and put Roglic into the red jersey, here's our stage 1 report, with results and a photo gallery.
50km remaining from 184km
50km to go and Planet and Kuriyanov lead the way, 5:20 ahead of the peloton. Jumbo-Visma are working for now but soon the sprinters' teams will have to come to the fore to bring the duo back in time for a bunch gallop.
What can Mark Cavendish do today? The Manxman has played down his chances, explaining his Dimension Data team are here for GC. He is still easing his way back after a long period of illness with mononucleosis. Here's what he had to say on the eve of the race.
41km remaining from 184km
The two breakaway riders come to the last intermediate sprint. It's Planet who opens it up and manages to hold off Kuriyanov, who won the previous one.
40km remaining from 184km
Sill Jumbo-Visma on the front of the bunch. With 40km to go the gap is down to just over four minutes.
The peloton come to the intermediate sprint and Wilco Kelderman clips off to take the final remaining bonus second.
If you missed the racing at the weekend, we have you covered. Neo-pro Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) wrapped up the overall title at the Volta ao Algarve, while Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-QuickStep) won the final stage. Here's our report page, with results and photos.
Over at the Ruta del Sol, the overall title went to Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) as Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) claimed the final stage. Here's our report page.
Finally, Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) won the final stage and the overall at the Tour du Haut Var, and Clara Koppenburg (WNT-Rotor) sealed victory at the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, with Lotta Lepisto (Trek-Segafredo) winning the final stage.
33km remaining from 184km
The gap isn't coming down too quickly. Planet and Kuruyanov lead by 4:20.
30km remaining from 184km
The sprinters' teams have now come to the front of the peloton. It's Mikkel Honore for Viviani's Deceuninck-QuickStep team, and Vegard Stake Laengen for the UAE Team Emirates outfit of Gaviria and Kristoff.
25km remaining from 184km
The contribution from the sprinters' teams has seen the gap to the two leaders fall to 2:40.
21km remaining from 184km
1:25 is the gap now as Bora-Hansgrohe contribute to the chase. They're working for Sam Bennett here.
Bora are really digging in here. There has been a change in direction and the win is once again coming from the side.
A small group of riders has just lost contact at the back.
The race is heading along the coast once again, though it's not as exposed. It will turn right again for the final couple of kilometres, meaning a headwind sprint.
Bora are still leading. CCC behind them, working for Jakub Mareczko.
With 18km to go, the gap to Planet and Kuriyanov is down to 30 seconds.
Bora disappear now as the bunch spreads across the road again. Sunweb, Trek, FDJ have a rider each on the front.
The pace is pretty sedate once again.
Jumbo-Visma hit the front again.
15km remaining from 184km
15km to go and the breakaway duo are in sight at 15 seconds.
Roglic sits third wheel as Jumbo-Visma take control.
14km remaining from 184km
Planet and Kuriyanov sit up and accept their fate. All together.
The riders hit a wide open highway and Movistar hit the front, with Valverde in third position.
Movistar are setting a high pace. So far it's the GC teams keeping their leaders out of trouble but the sprint trains will be starting to form soon enough.
Sunweb start to assemble on the left-hand side. Their sprinter is Max Walscheid, who could take the overall lead with a win today, thanks to bonus seconds.
10km remaining from 184km
10km to go and it's not winding up just yet.
Here come EF Education First in their striking pink jerseys. They have Dan McLay and Sacha Modolo.
8km remaining from 184km
Still Movistar lead the way.
Viviani, Gaviria, Kittel, Ewan, Cavendish, Bennett, Walscheid, Bauhaus.... It's a quality field of sprinters.
7km remaining from 184km
Bauhaus' Bahrain-Merida teammates move up now.
6km remaining from 184km
Movistar continue to lead the way.
Viviani's QuickStep teammates are now getting involved, moving up on the right.
The riders are on the Abu Dhabi Corniche heading along before the right-hand turn to the finishing straight.
Valverde is still in third position, staying as safe as possible. The 3km-to-go banner is the safety net for GC riders. Any crashed after that point and time gaps will be neutralised.
3km remaining from 184km
Katusha moving men up now.
Still Movistar on the nose but Sunweb and Bora are amassed behind them.
2km remaining from 184km
And now Movistar pull off. Subweb take it up.
2km remaining from 184km
Dimension Data move Cavendish up on the right-hand side.
FDJ now take it up for Marc Sarreau.
1km remaining from 184km
FDJ lead into the right-hand bend. Here we go.
FDJ have three on the front. Here come Bahrain on the left.
1km remaining from 184km
Flamme rouge. Last kilometre!
Bahrain lead the way now, Katusha have numbers alonsgide.
Viviani's leadout man hits the front now.
300m to go and Kristoff leads out Gaviria
Gaviria goes from range!
Viviani opens up and comes back...
So close between Gaviria and Viviani!
Gaviria takes it on the line.
Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) wins stage 2 of the UAE Tour
After Kristoff's lead-out, Gaviria went from range. Viviani had positioned himself in the Colombian's slipstream and stayed there for a good while before attempting to come around, but he was unable to do so.
Roglic finished safely in the peloton and retains the overall lead of the race.
Here's Gaviria's reaction
"The sprint was really difficult because there was a lot of strong riders. My teammates did a really good job on the stage even in the wind. The peloton took it easy after the wind and it worked perfectly. I had a really good lead-out man with Kristoff. It's not only good for me but for the team. UAE is a new country for me and is the sponsor for the team, it is important for the team and for me."
Here's our report page:
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