Cavendish wins Dubai Tour opening stage

Thursday, 5 February 2015 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: Etixx-Quickstep’s Mark Cavendish of Great Britain won the first stage of the Dubai Tour on Wednesday (4 February) with a long sprint to the finish line. The Tour has been upgraded in importance and so has attracted 11 World Tour teams and four others with many riders, including Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali of Italy, starting their race season here. Wednesday’s stage was 145kms, starting, like all four stages, at the Dubai International Marine Club. From there the riders did four laps around a circuit before a long run beside the sea to a finish at the Union House Flag. With 500 metres to go, the lead-out teams of Etixx-Quickstep and Team Sky were at the front, daring each other to sprint too early and so lose at the finish. Cavendish said afterwards that he detected a cross head-wind and did not want to go too early but then saw two Team Sky riders begin their final sprint so he had to start too. He rode shoulder to shoulder with Sky’s Elia Viviani before Andrea Guardini of Astana challenged him on the other side. “I knew I could pass Swift but whoever came with him would come with more speed so I had to go then,” said Cavendish after. “I could see the shadows, I could feel people coming and dying, coming and dying, so I just held on to the line. You know Guardini came fast at me, but I am very happy with that sprint actually. The team looked really good all day, we stayed at the front and controlled the race.” Another finishing fast was Alexander Porsev of Katusha who was fourth. Nibali finished in 72nd place, but was classified with the same time.