While Omega Pharma-QuickStep’s leadout train may have work to do, Marcel Kittel’s Giant-Shimano proved they have learned the lessons from their shortcomings in Australia last month.
Kittel won the pre-race People’s Choice Classic in Australia but was never in contention for a stage victory once the Tour Down Under got underway, with Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) dominating the sprints with two wins and a second place finish.
But while Kittel’s Giant-Shimano team were outclassed in Adelaide, this time out they took advantage of the the windy conditions to tee-up their man to perfection.
Jostling for road position with Omega Pharma-QuickStep, Kittel’s team-mates emerged from the tunnel connecting The Palm to the Palm Island Atlantis finish line at the front of the race.
It allowed them to set the pace and protect Kittel from the crosswinds as best they could, and when an opening presented itself they dropped Kittel off in position. On the wheel of race leader Taylor Phinney – a surprise contender – there was only ever going to be one winner and the powerful German delivered.