British sprint king Mark Cavendish earned his first win of the year by claiming victory in the third stage of the Dubai Tour on Thursday.
The 32-year-old former world champion edged out France’s Nacer Bouhanni and German powerhouse Marcel Kittel at the end of the 180km stage from Dubai to Fujairah.
Italian Elia Viviani, winner of Wednesday’s second stage, is the new leader after Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen, Tuesday’s opening stage victor, was penalised 20 seconds for drafting — using a team car to shield himself from the wind.
Groenewegen dropped to 42nd overall with Cavendish up to second, four seconds off Viviani.
Friday’s fourth stage is a 172km ride from Dubai to Hatta Dam.
1. Mark Cavendish (GB/DOD) 3hr 53min 46sec, 2. Nacer Bouhanni (FRA/CDF) same time, 3. Marcel Kittel (GER/TKA) s.t., 4. Adam Blythe (GB/ABS) s.t., 5. Sonny Colbrelli (ITA/TBM) s.t.
1. Elia Viviani (ITA/QST) 12hr 19min 36sec, 2. Mark Cavendish (GB/DOD) at 4sec, 3. Nathan Van Hooydonk (BEL/BMC) 7, 4. Magnus Cort Nielsen (DAN/AST) 8, 5. Nacer Bouhanni (FRA/CFD) s.t.
Alexander Kristoff continued his strong start to life at UAE Team Emirates as he secured a 7th place finish during stage three of the Dubai Tour.
It was Kristoff’s third top-10 finish this week having finished 4th on stage one and 7th on stage two.
Mark Cavendish barreled over the finish in triumph following a 183km ride from Skydive Dubai to the port town of Fujairah.
It was a commendable performance nonetheless from Kristoff, who said: “Our lead-out train was perfect and we were at the front in the right moment, but we had no luck. We were boxed in to the left and couldn’t find any open road to accelerate.
“If we could have found some space, I feel I would have had a better chance of competing for the victory as my legs felt good today.”
Meanwhile, Yousif Mirza, who finished 17th, said: “Friday and Saturday could be interesting opportunities for joining breakaways, with the target of the intermediate sprint jersey.
“My direct opponents did not obtain points today, so the ranking is still very open and I’m sure tomorrow there will be battle in the early kilometres.”
Dylan Groenewegen may have won the opening stage and finished second on stage 2 of the Dubai Tour, but the Dutchman now looks out of contention for the leader’s jersey after receiving a 20-second penalty by the race jury.
The 24-year-old held a two second lead over Elia Viviani at the start of stage 3 and was hoping to continue his impressive form ahead of the uphill finish on stage four to Hatta Dam.
However, a mechanical issue with 70km remaining saw the LottoNL-Jumbo rider fall behind the peloton.
With 90 minutes of racing to go, Groenewegen sat in behind his team car, before the car accelerated to help him back up the peloton – an act that was spotted by race commissaries on the ground.
Opnieuw problemen met mijn fiets vandaag, terug gekomen achter de auto en daardoor 20 seconde straf en terecht! Zwaar k*t dat de kans om de ronde van dubai te winnen nu weg is! (2 dagen 3 keer het zelfde probleem met mijn fiets mag niet gebeuren)! 😡
— Dylan Groenewegen (@GroenewegenD) February 8, 2018