Mark Cavendish back to winning ways after Abu Dhabi Tour stage win - Road Cycling UK

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Mark Cavendish back to winning ways after Abu Dhabi Tour stage win

Manxman bags first victory since Tour de France and claims race lead in the process

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) got back to winning ways by sprinting to victory on stage two of the Abu Dhabi Tour, claiming the race lead in the process.

Cavendish was outsprinted by Peter Sagan at last weekend’s UCI Road World Championships in Qatar, but the Manxman put his frustration behind him with another display of his sprinting prowess.

Mark Cavendish sprinted to victory on stage two of the Abu Dhabi Tour – his first victory since the Tour de France (pic: RCS Sport)

Despite losing his lead-out with two bends still to negotiate, Cavendish got himself onto the back of the Team Sky train and outsprinted Elia Viviani to secure his first stage win since bagging four at the Tour de France.

And having finished third behind Giacomo Nizzolo and John Degenkolb on stage one, Cavendish’s bonus points mean he will wear the red jersey for the four-day race’s Queen Stage tomorrow (Saturday October 22).

The win is Cavendish’s ninth since joining Dimension Data – including overall victory at the Tour of Qatar – in a year which has seen him juggle track and road commitments.

The breakaway nearly foiled the fast men, after a lull in pace allowed a six-man move containing ONE Pro Cycling duo Sam Williams and Dion Smith to maintain a sizable lead.

But after finally reeling them in with less than a kilometre remaining, the anticipated sprint finish unfolded.

Olympic omnium champion Viviani, who has balanced track and road commitments likewise, was in front of Cavendish as they hit the final straight and opened up his sprint first.

But Cavendish was not to be denied, bursting out of the Italian’s slipstream to get his arms in the air.

Cavendish will now the red jersey on stage three, leading Giacomo Nizzolo by four seconds overall, but with the summit finish at Jebel Hafeet awaiting on stage three he is unlikely to keep it.

Cavendish claimed the red leader’s jersey in the process, but with the Queen Stage next on the cards is unlikely to retain that lead (pic: RCS Sport)

The final 11km climb, with a maximum gradient of 11 per cent and a sharp kick, following a small descent, at the finish line saw Johan Esteban Chaves crowned winner last year.

And it’s likely to be a rider of similar ilk – Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) are among the contenders, who takes the red jersey from Cavendish.

Abu Dhabi Tour 2016: stage two – result

1) Mark Cavendish (GBR) – Dimension Data – 2.32.21hrs
2) Elia Viviani (ITA) – Team Sky – ST
3) Andrea Guardini (ITA) – Astana
4) Jakub Mareczko (ITA) – Wilier-Southeast
5) Jean-Pierre Drucker (LUX) – BMC Racing
6) Giacomo Nizzolo (ITA) – Trek-Segafredo
7) Chris Latham (GBR) – Team Wiggins
8) Michael Kolar (SVK) – Tinkoff
9) Steele von Hoff (AUS) – ONE Pro Cycling
10) Magnus Cort Nielsen (DEN) – Orica-BikeExchange

General classification

1) Mark Cavendish (GBR) – Dimension Data – 5.48.06hrs
2) Giacomo Nizzolo (ITA) – Trek-Segafredo +4″
3) Jens Keukeleire (BEL) – Orica-BikeExchange +5″
4) Elia Viviani (ITA) – Team Sky +8″
5) John Degenkolb (GER) – Giant-Alpecin – ST
6) Andrea Guardini (ITA) – Astana +10″
7) Dion Smith (NZL) – ONE Pro Cycling – ST
8) Chris Latham (GBR) – Team Wiggins +14″
9) Jempy Drucker (LUX) – BMC Racing – ST
10) Michael Kolar (SVK) – Tinkoff

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