Cavendish edges Philipsen to win second stage of UAE Tour

Pascal Ackermann, who rides for UAE Team Emirates, was just behind in third



Keep the faith: The peloton rides across the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque during the second stage of the UAE Tour from Al Hudayriat island to Abu Dhabi Breakwater, on Monday. — AFP
Keep the faith: The peloton rides across the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque during the second stage of the UAE Tour from Al Hudayriat island to Abu Dhabi Breakwater, on Monday. — AFP

By AFP

Published: Tue 22 Feb 2022, 12:34 AM

Last updated: Tue 22 Feb 2022, 12:36 AM

After a day of slow-motion cycling, Mark Cavendish hit top speed in the final 400 metres on Monday to edge Jasper Philipsen and win the second stage of the UAE Tour.

“I knew we could win here,” said Cavendish.

On the second day of the first World Tour race of season, the peloton dawdled through a flat 173km stage that toured Abu Dhabi, with the speed dipping to 20kmh.

At the end, the sprinters’ teams upped the pace.

Quick-Step rider Cavendish went early and held off Belgian Philipsen, winner of Sunday’s opening stage.

“A third of the team are first year professionals so this is the first or second race in their career,” said Cavendish. “They were super professional today.

“Their job was to get me to the final with me feeling as fresh as possible and they did it so well that I was able to launch with 300 to 350m to go into a headwind. I’m happy I could hold off Philipsen.”

German Pascal Ackermann, who rides for home team UAE, was just behind in third.

Philipsen, who rides for Alpecin-Fenix, preserved his four-second lead in the overall standings, with Russian Dimitry Strakhov of Gazprom second. Cavendish climbed to third.

“I was missing just a few watts today,” said Philipsen. “I was a bit far back at the end but I just had to go. I knew it was going to be a tough sprint because of the headwind and Mark was the fastest today.”

Strakhov did cut Philipsen’s lead in the points classification after spending a warm, windy day focusing on intermediate sprints.

Tuesday’s stage is a 9km time trial around the village of Ajman which should give UAE Team Emirates star and defending champion Tadej Pogacar a chance to shine.

After a top-10 finish on Sunday, Ackermann was guided in the final by veteran leadout specialist Maximiliano Richeze and showed a fast turn of speed in the final straight, just getting blocked in and unable to get past stage winner Cavendish.

The new recruit joined UAE Team Emirates this year and was called into the squad last minute to cover the withdrawal of Fernando Gaviria who was ruled out with Covid-19.

He is showing good form in a field packed with world class sprinters.

“It was a nervous start with a lot of wind so it was important to move together as a team and stay protected. After we survived the crosswind we worked towards the sprint. Richeze did a great job and brought me up perfectly to the wheel of Cavendish,” said Ackermann.

Unluckily I couldn’t finish it off because I got a bit blocked but I’m happy that we were able to be up with the other sprinters and it gives me confidence for the last two sprints that are coming. Now we’ll work towards the GC for the next couple of days,” he added. — AFP


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