The Dubai Tour 2017 has come and gone; with increment weather and mechanical issues, let’s have a look at some of the highs and lows of the Dubai Tour 2017.
The Dubai Tour Angels:
A big acknowledgment first needs to go out to the Vittoria Servizio Corse neutral support vehicles that were out on every stage assisting the pro-riders. Vittoria performed their service with 3 vehicles and 6 professional team members (3 drivers and 3 professional mechanics).
Nakheel Stage (181km):
The first stage of the Dubai Tour was in Tuesday the 31st January 2017, with the cyclists leaving DIMC and ending at the Palm Jumeirah.
Early on in the stage, there was a five-man break away, with Daniel Pearson (Aqua Blue Sport), Nicola Boem (Bardiani), Silvan Dillier (BMC), Thomas Stewart (One Pro Cycling) and Matteo Bono (UAE Abu Dhabi) building up a lead of close to five minutes after 50 kilometres of racing.
The five riders in the break remained in the lead for most of the race with the chasing peloton only able to close the gap at 10km until the finish line.
Stepping it back a bit, as the pro-riders planned on passing the Al Qudra Cycle Path, the Revolution Cycles Dubai riders were ready and waiting. As the peloton came racing passed, the Revolution Cycles Dubai team tried to hold onto the group (and even got our 15 seconds on fame), but as quick as we were able to hold on, we were left in the dust of pro-riders. Proving why they are in the professionals.
Jumping back to the 10km to go point, where the peloton closed in on the leading five, it was now anyone’s race.
At the 5km to go mark and it is between QuickStep, Dimension Data and Bahrain Merida. 2km to go and the sprint trains start forming, with QuickStep holding the front until the finish where Marcel Kittel takes the first stage (his first win for the season). This is QuickStep Floors’ seventh win this year.
Ras Al Kaimah Stage (188km):
Marcel Kittle proved again at the end of this stage that he is the strongest rider on this years Dubai Tour.
The 188km stage of the race saw the riders starting at DIMC, cycling on a relatively flat course through to the stage finish at Ras Al Kaimah.
As with the first stage, 20km into the stage, Mark Christian (Aqua Blue), Simone Andrneetta (Bardiani-CSF), Jempy Druker (BMC), Peter Williams (One Pro Cycling), and Yousif Mirza (UAE Abu Dhabi) took the lead, with a 3:38 lead on the peloton. The leading five cyclists kept a consistent lead over the peloton, with the lead only beginning to diminish at 66km to go. At the 10km to go, the leading players are Dimension Data, QuickStep Floors and Lotto NL-Jumbo.
It seemed as if Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish were out of the mix for the stage win, but coming out of nowhere, Kittel takes stage 2 of the Dubai tour.
Dubai Silicon Oasis Stage (200km):
The third stage started off quiet; with Mark Christian (Aqua Blue Sport) making the cut for the second day in a row and being by Luka Pibernik (Bahrain-Merida) Loic Vliegen (BMC Racing), and Alex Dowsett (Movistar). They gradually pulled away, building a six minute lead on the peloton.
But the lead was quickly reeled in, when strong winds and sand whipped across the track causing the peloton to “blow apart”. Unfortunately, the day was marred not only by the increment weather, but Marcel Kittel was seen with blood streaming down the left side of his face. It was initially thought that Kittel had been hit in the face by a piece of debris; but was later indicated that there had been an altercation between Kittel and one of the other cyclists.
The wind eventually gave some reprieve, picking up the pace again where on the finishing straight it was down to John Degenkolb of Trek – Segafredo and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg of Dimension Data; where Degenkolb took the win for stage 3 and Janse van Rensburg coming in second.
Westin Stage (172km):
Due to the increment weather conditions the day before; the race organisers decided to start the race in Hatta instead of at DIMC. However, as weather conditions had worsened overnight, and there was no sign of reprieve from the strong winds, this stage was cancelled.
Meraas Stage (124km):
The final stage of the Dubai Tour, held on Saturday 4th February 2017, started from DIMC and finished at the City Walk.
QuickStep remained in control of the peloton on the final stage; and loris Gerts (BMC), Ivan Garcia Cortina (Bahrain-Merida), Dimitry Gruzdev (Astana), and Matteo Bono (UAE -Abu Dhabi) made an early break, building up a sizable lead over the peloton.
At 20km to go, it was clear that Dimension Data, Trek Segafredo and QuickStep Floors were in control of the race; but at 9.9km left, Dimension Data were the dominating team. 500 metres from the line Mark Cavendish was forced to look for Marc Kittel’s wheel. Marcel Kittel managed to stamp his authority on the Dubai Tour by winning the final stage, his third of the race, and the overall title by edging out Elia Viviani (Team Sky) and Riccardo Minali (Astana Pro Team), with Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) suffering a mechanical in the sprint and fading to fourth.
As quickly as the Dubai Tour started on the 31st January 2017, bringing about the love and excitement in all of us non-professional cyclists for the sport again, it came to as just a swift finish with Marcel Kittel taking the title.