• The peloton on Stage 1 of the Abu Dhabi Tour. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
Reigning Italian champion Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) won Stage 1 of the second Abu Dhabi Tour as he outsprinted John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) and Mark Cavendish (Dimension-Data).
Cycling Central

21 Oct 2016 - 7:47 AM  UPDATED 21 Oct 2016 - 7:56 AM

Breakaway riders Gatis Smukulis (Astana Pro Team), Dion Smith (One Pro Cycling), Michael Matthews and Jens Keukeleire (Orica-BikeExchange) ended their adventure 7km before the finish line. 

"It means a lot for me to lead the Abu Dhabi Tour, especially after Sunday’s World Championships," Nizzolo said. "A victory here is the best way to start. I asked my team to put me in a good place with 1km to go.

"At the roundabout 700m away from the line, I was well placed behind Giant-Alpecin and I managed by myself. I started my sprint with 200 metres to go.

"I don’t think I’m the fastest but we’ll try to defend the jersey tomorrow even though we’re here with a stagiaire and Niccolo Bonifazio who is not feeling very well."

Orica-BikeExchange pair Michael Matthews and Jens Jens Keukeleire made the break but the conditions doomed their effort to steal the stage.

"It was a little bit of a surprise to have two Orica-BikeExchange riders in the breakaway," Jens Keukeleire said. "At the start, many riders were trying to go and I found myself at the front with Michael Matthews. It was in

"It was in single file, so I told Michael ‘let’s give it a crack’ and it was only him and me who went away. Sure it wasn’t the plan today but luckily two more guys came across and helped us out. The last 60km were hard in the headwind, and unfortunately we didn’t make it to the finish."