Abu Dhabi Tour 2017: Marcel Kittel storms back to beat Mark Cavendish on stage two

German comes from way back to beat Manxman and Caleb Ewan

Marcel Kittel underlined his position as the world’s number one sprinter with a perfectly-timed acceleration to beat Caleb Ewan and Mark Cavendish on stage two of the Abu Dhabi Tour.

Kittel started from well back in the final sprint, but negotiated his way through the wheels to latch onto Ewan’s tail, before bursting past him to win on the line.

Ewan, who had been just about to celebrate victory himself, was pipped into second, while race leader Cavendish finished third.

Marcel Kittel won stage two of the Abu Dhabi Tour (pic – Ansa-Matteo Bazzi-RCS Sport)

Once again six riders made the day’s break: Nicola Boem (Bardiani-CSF), Fabio Calabria (Novo Nordisk), Marco Canola (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Alessandro de Marchi (BMC Racing), Kristijan Durasek (UAE Team Emirates) and Kirill Sveshnikov (Gazprom-RusVelo).

The chase was always controlled, however, and Bahrain-Merida put in a bug shift to bring the race back together as De Marchi and Canola made a last bid for success.

Dimension Data were happy to bide their time further back, putting the onus on their sprinting rivals to do the chasing after several teams missed the stage one bunch sprint because of crashes in the final kilometre.

De Marchi and Canola continued to serve as the carrot for the bunch to chase with five kilometres remaining and a 13-second gap, while the peloton was spread all the way across the wide coastal road.

With no team willing to commit too early, the phoney war continued as QuickStep Floors, Lotto-Soudal, Orica-Scott and Dimension Data all brought their men to the front before the catch was finally made.

Team Sky had the advantage as they swung round the big right-hander and under the flamme rouge, but Orica-Scott dropped Caleb Ewan off at the front with Cavendish on his wheel.

Kittel and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) appeared to have been boxed in as Ewan opened up his sprint, and Cavendish found a gap to slip between the Australian and Elia Vivani (Team Sky).

Ewan had the advantage, with Cavendish alongside him, but Kittel got the jump on them both, bursting out of Ewan’s wheel and kicking for the line with perfect timing.

Cavendish still leads overall, but with the Queen Stage next on the cards is unlikely to retain that (pic: RCS Sport)

Kittel threw to the line to snatch it, just as Ewan was preparing to throw his arms up to celebrate, and roared out his celebration – showing just what it meant to win after crashing the previous day.

Cavendish held on for third, retaining the red jersey in the process, though all eyes will turn to the climbers on stage three – with the winner on Jebel Hafeet likely to be crowned winner overall.

The sprinters, meanwhile, will duel once more on the Yas Marina circuit on the final day.

Abu Dhabi Tour 2017: stage two – result

1) Marcel Kittel (GER) – QuickStep Floors – 3.28.11hrs
2) Caleb Ewan (AUS) – Orica-Scott – ST
3) Mark Cavendish (GBR) – Dimension Data
4) Matteo Pelucchi (ITA) – Bora-hansgrohe
5) Phil Bauhaus (GER) – Team Sunweb
6) Elia Viviani (ITA) – Team Sky
7) Andrea Guardini (ITA) – UAE Team Emirates
8) Eduard Michael Grosu (ROM) – Nippo-Vini Fantini
9) Andre Greipel (GER) – Lotto-Soudal
10) Alexander Porsev (RUS) – Gazprom-RusVelo

General classification

1) Mark Cavendish (GBR) – Dimension Data – 8.05.03hrs
2) Marcel Kittel (GER) – QuickStep Floors +4″
3) Andre Greipel (GER) – Lotto-Soudal +8″
4) Marco Canola (ITA) – Nippo-Vini Fantini – ST
5) Caleb Ewan (AUS) – Orica-Scott
6) Manuele Mori (ITA) – UAE Team Emirates
7) Niccolo Bonifazio (ITA) – Bahrain-Merida +10″
8) Fabio Calabria (AUS) – Novo Nordisk +11″
9) Mirco Maestri (ITA) – Bardiani-CSF +12″
10) Kazushige Kuboki (JAP) – Nippo-Vini Fantini – ST


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