Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) claimed the opening stage of Abu Dhabi Tour today, after beating Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida) in a hotly contested sprint finale.
The first of four stages led the riders along a 189 kilometer route from the Baynounah Educational Complex to Madinat Zayet today.
David Lozano (Novo Nordisk), Emanuele Mori (UAE), Kazushige Kuboki (Nippo), Artur Ershov (Gazprom), Mirco Maestri (Bardiani) and Artyom Zakharov (Astana), marked the day’s first breakaway group.
From there, the escapees went on to quickly establish an advantage of around five minutes over the main field.
However, a vigilant peloton kept a watchful eye over the breakaway group, eventually reining in the last of the escapees during the final 16 kilometers.
With four kilometers to go, Alberto Contador was involved in a crash, but the Trek-Segafredo team was successful in guiding him back into the peloton, as such avoiding potentially significant loss of time for the Spanish rider.
Shortly thereafter, another crash occurred during the final kilometer, this time ensnaring race favorite Marcel Kittel.
However, the QuickStep rider managed to escape without serious injury and was able to rejoin the main field without any significant time loss either.
Up ahead, Dimension Data had both the numbers and the positioning to deliver Cavendish to victory, while Greipel found himself isolated as he struggled to move into Cavendish’s slipstream.
But, the German rider proved powerless to catch the “Manx Missile”, as the Dimension Data rider opened up his sprint for the line.
Top 10 Finishers
1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data 4:37:06
2 Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
3 Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
4 Simone Consonni (Ita) Team UAE Abu Dhabi
5 Elia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky
6 Roger Kluge (Ger) Orica-Scott
7 Alexander Porsev (Rus) Gazprom Ð Rusvelo
8 Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
9 Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani CSF
10 Eduard Grosu (Rom) Nippo – Vini Fantini
General Classification after stage 1
1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data
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