Mark Cavendish won the sprint finish on stage four of the Dubai Tour to claim overall victory in the shadow of the Burj Khalifa.
The Manxman overhauled John Degenkolb’s four-second advantage courtesy of his ten-second bonus at the finish, sealing his first overall win since the 2013 Tour of Qatar.
Cavendish’s third stage win of the season arrived thanks to a perfect lead-out from his Etixx-QuickStep train, which had given him a clear advantage on the front when Mark Renshaw swung off.
Elia Viviani (Team Sky) kicked hard behind to claim second, with Juan Jose Lobato (Movistar) third, but Cavendish, who also topped the points classification, was not to be denied the blue jersey.
His hopes of an overall victory were enhanced when a three-man break formed to ensure neither Degenkolb or Cavendish would be contesting the intermediate sprint bonus seconds.
The move was full of typically attacking riders, Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff-Saxo), Marco Canola (UnitedHealthCare) and Daniel Oss (BMC Racing) earning a gap.
Francisco Mancebo (Skydive-Dubai) and Maciej Paterski (CCC Spranda Polkowice) bridged to form a quintet as Etixx-QuickStep led the chase behind.
With the five of them contesting the overall sprints, the only task for Cavendish and Etixx-QuickStep to reel them in and win the stage if they wanted overall victory.
Boaro bagged the maximum six-second bonus to move into the top ten overall but the advantage for the men up the road, on the pan-flat inner city circuit, was never enough to seriously worry the peloton.
Oss attacked as the 20km to go mark approached, with Ag2r-La Mondiale lending firepower to the chase back in the bunch.
It was the French team on the front when the catch was made, but Etixx-QuickStep quickly regained control as Team Sky and UnitedHealthCare also came forward.
The American Pro-Continental team were on the front under the flamme rouge but Cavendish’s sprint train clicked perfectly into gear to set the Manxman up perfectly.
And the near-perfect lead-out proved decisive as Cavendish held off Viviani and Lobato – who claimed third-place overall – to seal victory.
Degenkolb, meanwhile, rolled in ninth having been unable to make an impact on the final sprint and – while the German’s form ahead of Milan-San Remo was proved on stage three – it is Cavendish who will leave Dubai with overall victory on his palmares.
Dubai Tour 2015: stage four – result
1) Mark Cavendish (GBR) – Etixx-QuickStep – 2.37.15hrs
2) Elia Viviani (ITA) – Team Sky – ST
3) Juan Jose Lobato (ESP) – Movistar
4) Ben Swift (GBR) – Team Sky
5) Andrea Guardini (ITA) – Astana
6) Daniele Ratto (ITA) – UnitedHealthCare
7) Martijn Verschoor (NED) – Team Novo Nordisk
8) Davide Cimolai (ITA) – Lampre-Merida
9) John Degenkolb (GER) – Giant-Alpecin
10) Andrea Palini (ITA) – Skydive-Dubai
1) Mark Cavendish (GBR) – Etixx-QuickStep – 15.22.38hrs
2) John Degenkolb (GER) – Giant-Alpecin +6″
3) Juan Jose Lobato (ESP) – Movistar +10″
4) Alejandro Valverde (ESP) – Movistar +12″
5) Marco Canola (ITA) – UnitedHealthCare +14″
6) Alessandro Bazzana (ITA) – +17″
7) Gregor Bole (SVN) – CCC Sprandi Polkowice +18″
8) Philippe Gilbert (BEL) – BMC Racing – ST
9) Manuele Boaro (ESP) – Tinkoff-Saxo
10) Filippo Pozzato (ITA) – Lampre-Merida