photo credits @ Team Sky
Elia Viviani (Team Sky) claimed stage 2 of the Abu Dhabi Tour today, after nixing World Champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) in a sprint finish -at the conclusion of today’s 129 kilometer route from Yas Marina to Marina Island.
Meanwhile, Fabio Sabatini rounded out the podium in third place.
Today’s victory not only netted Viviani the stage win, but also moved the Sky rider up into the overall race lead ahead of Andrea Guardini.
“I know in this final of the season I have really good condition,” said Viviani before a trip to the podium to collect the red and green jerseys for leader of the overall and points classifications.
“Yesterday we were disappointed because we worked all day and lost position on the last corner. I did a good sprint but from 30 positions back. Today we decided not to work as much, to save energy because we have a lot of climbers for tomorrow. If I was to have two leadout guys we needed to stay on wheels. When I saw 3km I needed to do a good effort to take Sagan’s wheel. When Sagan opened his sprint I say ‘ok, now I need to pass him, not wait’. I know I have good power at the end of this season. I am really really happy to take another win this season.”
Today’s stage was animated by a six-rider breakaway group containing Paul Voss (Bora-Argon18), Soufiane Haddi (Skydive Dubai), Belkov (Katusha), Daniel Patten (Wiggins), Alessandro Bazzana (UnitedHealthcare) and Federico Zurlo (UnitedHealthcare). However, a watchful peloton would never allow the escapees to establish more than a two minutes advantage.
Chaos later struck both the breakaway group and the peloton at the 55 kilometer mark, where Voss was forced into a curb Zurlo, who was quickly disqualified, while Boonen fell victim to a crash after colliding with Theo Bos and Songezo Jim of MTN-Qhubeka.
The Belgian rider was subsequently taken away by ambulance for further evaluation.
With 35 kilometers to go, the remaining five breakaway riders were still holding onto a modest lead, while Vincenzo Nibali and Astana drove the peloton from behind.
As the race approached the final 10 kilometers, a flurry of attacks occurred within both the breakaway group and peloton, with Patten putting in a short-lived attack up front, while Anton Vorobyev (Katusha) and Rafaa Chtioui (Skydive Dubai) rode clear of the main field.
However, with 2.5 kilometers remaining, the race came back together, wherein BMC, Tinkoff-Saxo and Etixx took up the pace-setting.
After the final left-hand turn, Daniele Bennati was leading out and Sagan, but Viviani executed a final acceleration that brought the curtains down on the Slovakian rider’s hopes for a first victory in his rainbow jersey.
Top 10 Finishers
1 Elia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky 3:02:07
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
3 Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step
4 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Giant-Alpecin
5 Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Etixx – Quick-Step
6 Andrea Palini (Ita) Skydive Dhubai Pro Cycling
7 Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team
8 Christopher Latham (GBr) Team Wiggins
9 Marco Canola (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
10 Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Argon 18
General classification after stage 2
1 Elia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky 7:23:08
2 Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro Team
3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:04
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