Dimension Data's British rider Mark Cavendish (centre) celebrates his victory as he crosses the finish line during the third stage of the Dubai Tour.
Dubai - The Englishman had gone winless in Dubai for two years since his title triumph in 2015
Mark Cavendish ended his Dubai drought with a fantastic Stage win on the third day of the Dubai Tour.
The Englishman had gone winless in Dubai for two years since his title triumph in 2015, then with Etixx -Quick Step.
But in Fujairah on Thursday, the Team Dimension Data rider broke that duck with a precision finish in the Dubai Silicon Oasis Stage, the third Stage of the Tour.
It was tactical nous from the 'Manx Missile' as he waited patiently behind Quick-Step Floors' Elia Viviani before pouncing at the end with 150 metres to go to the finish.
Cavendish, who had endured a flat tyre 63km from the finish line, faced a challenge from Cofidis Solutions Credits rider Nacer Bouhanni as well as late surge from the outside from Team Katusha Alpecin's Marcel Kittel.
But the Rio Olympics silver medallist had more than enough in the bag to clinch the 180km Stage. Cavendish finished with a timing of three hours, 53 minutes and 46 seconds.
The Stage win, his third in Dubai after two victories in 2015, vaulted Cavendish to second in the General Classification behind Viviani.
Cavendish had finished way down in 17th in the Nakheel Stage, the opening Stage of the Tour and had come agonisingly close on Wednesday before settling for fourth in the Ras Al Khaimah Stage.
And while Cavendish measured his move to perfection, Kittel perhaps left it a tad late as he was caught up in a bit of traffic, despite his lead-out train trying to deliver the German to perfection.
He finally took matters into his own hands and broke from the right to have a go. But then, the two-time Dubai winner couldn't match up to Cavendish and Bouhanni.
Nonetheless, the third-place finish would have been a relief for Kittel after disappointments over the first two days. Kittel had finished 18th and 17th in the first and second stage respectively.
Aqua Blue Sport's Adam Blythe was fourth in the Stage followed by Sonny Colbrelli from Bahrain-Merida.
Viviani, who perhaps went a bit early into the sprint, didn't have enough in the tank for a successive Stage win. The Italian, who had celebrated turning 29 with a Stage win on Wednesday, finished sixth.
The result was enough for the Olympic champion to take over the leader's Blue Jersey (General Classification) after Team Lotto NL-Jumbo's Dylan Groenewegen copped a 20-second penalty from the jury, after he had finished the Stage.
Groenewegen had finished 10th but the penalty saw the Dutchman dropped down to 14th.
Alexander Kristoff of UAE Team Emirates had a decent outing with another top-10 finish. The Norwegian finished seventh and was followed by Astana Pro Team's Cort Magnus Nielsen.
New race leader Viviani has an overall time of 12 hours, 19 minutes and 38 seconds after a total distance of 537km and holds a four-second lead over Cavendish.
BMC Racing Team's Nathan van Hooydonck, who heads the Intermediate Sprints Jersey General Classification, is eight seconds adrift of Viviani.
Meanwhile, Kittel put his troubles behind to move to seventh in the General Classification.
The field of 109 riders took to the start at the race headquarters at Skydive Dubai and the wind from behind contributed to a blistering pace at the beginning. But the pace dropped over the course of the distance.
|Results (Stage 3, Dubai Silicon Oasis Stage): |
(Skydive Dubai to Fujairah, 180km):
1. Mark Cavendish (GBR) Team Dimension Data 03:53:46
2. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
3. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Katusha-Alpecin
4. Adam Blythe (GBR) Aqua Blue Sport
5. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
6. Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
7. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
8. Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team
9. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana Pro Team
10. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team Lotto NL-Jumbo
General Classification (After Stage 3):
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors 12:19:38
2. Mark Cavendish (GBR) Team Dimension Data 00:00:04
3. Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) BMC Racing Team 00:00:07
4. Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team 00:00:08
5. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
6. Loic Vliegen (Bel) BMC Racing Team
7. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Katusha-Alpecin 00:00:10
8. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana Pro Team
9. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:14
10. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida