Dubai: Quick-Step Floors’ rider Marcel Kittel sprinted away with the fifth and final stage, sweeping away the rest of the honours, to become the only rider so far to successfully defend his crown as the 2017 Dubai Tour concluded on Saturday.
The German, who had picked up his first Dubai Tour crown last year, came up with his well-known strong finish to the line to finish ahead of Team Sky’s Elia Viviani, Astana Pro Team’s Riccardo Minali and great rival Mark Cavendish of Team Dimension Data.
Shaikh Mansour Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President, Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC), presented the champion’s trophy to Kittel in the presence of Saeed Hareb, General Secretary, Dubai Sports Council (DSC) and Race Director Huraiz Bin Huraiz.
“I’m extremely proud of what I achieved today: my second Dubai Tour overall in a row, my 75th career victory. When I came back to Dubai, I thought this is a nice race, it’s a goal for me, but I didn’t think it would go so well. The team did a really god job. It’s a very nice way to start the season,” Kittel told media.
“It was a short stage after the cancellation of Stage 4 and we tried to control the race from the very beginning. The breakaway wasn’t too big so it went very well for us. At the end, it didn’t go exactly according to the plan because Fabio Sabatini’s chain fell off. He was supposed to be my last lead out man, so I had to go by myself but at the end I was well positioned, so I could do my sprint as I wanted to,” he added.
By winning the race, Kittel became the only rider to successfully defend his crown in the four years of the event.
Last year, representing the Etixx-QuickStep team, Kittel had sprinted to victory on the final stage — outpacing Team Sky’s Elia Viviani and Mark Cavendish of Dimension Data.
This year, Trek-Segafredo’s John Degenkolb had thrown the race for the title wide open while claiming his first win of the year after winning Stage 3 to Ras Al Khaimah on Thursday. However, with the penultimate stage to Hatta Dam cancelled due to foul weather, the scales tilted in favour of fellow German Kittel who went in on the final day with an eight-second advantage from Dylan Groenewegen.
Last year, Kittel won the overall title by four seconds from Nizzolo, having started the day six seconds behind before sweeping up the ten bonus seconds on the finish line. Juan José Lobato of Movistar, who won Stage 3 to the Hatta Dam, finished third overall at six seconds.
On Saturday, the fifth and final stage started off at the race headquarters at DIMC before heading towards Meydan and crossing Mushrif Park moving towards Mamzar beach, where the first of two intermediate sprints took place.
The riders then went into Deira, crossed over the Maktoum bridge to Bur Dubai towards the Union Flag where the second intermediate sprint took place. After this the peloton headed past Burj Al Arab and took the Jumeirah road till the finish line at The Walk after a distance of 124km.
Despite the setback, former winner Cavendish was pleased with the outcome of finishing eighth in the general classification. “I felt brilliant today. The team was brilliant too. It looks like all the guys are good too. I’m better than I thought I was, so that’s alright and that’s a positive I can take,” Cavendish said.
Results of Stage Five:
1. Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors); 2. Elia Viviani (Team Sky); 3. Riccardo Minali (Astana Pro Team); 4. Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data); 5. John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo); 6. Sacha Modolo (UAE Abu Dhabi); 7. Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC Racing Team); 8. Paolo Simion (Bardiani CSF); 9. Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida); 10. Dylan Groenewegen) Team Lotto NL-Jumbo).
General Classification (Blue Jersey sponsored by Commercial Bank of Dubai for general individual classification by time): 1. Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors); 2. Dylan Groenewegen (Team Lotto NL-Jumbo); 3. John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo); 4. Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC Racing Team); 5. Elia Viviani (Team Sky).
Points Classification (Red Jersey sponsored by Emirates for general individual classification by points): 1. Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) 75pts; 2. John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) 47; 3. Dylan Groenewegen (Team Lotto NL-Jumbo) 36; 4. Elia Viviani (Team Sky) 25; Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC Racing Team) 23.
Best Young Riders (White Jersey sponsored by Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) for best young rider born after January 1, 1992): 1. Dylan Groenewegen (Team Lotto NL-Jumbo); 2. Riccardo Minali (Astana Pro Team); 3. Jakub Mareczko (Wilier Tristina); 4. Floris Gerts (BMC Racing Team); 5. Paolo Simion (Bardiani CSF).
Intermediate Sprints (UAE Flag Jersey sponsored by Dubai Health Authority (DHA) for intermediate sprint jersey classification): 1. Nicola Boem (Bardiani CSF) 12pts; 2. Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC Racing Team) 10; 3. Alex Dowsett 10; 4. Thomas Stewart (One Pro Cycling) 9; 5. Silvan Dillier (BMC Racing Team) 8.