Marcel Kittel was agile and sure in the face of a messy bunch sprint to claim his second consecutive stage win of the Dubai Tour on Wednesday.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
2 Feb 2017 - 7:27 AM  UPDATED 2 Feb 2017 - 7:29 AM

The race leader partly attributed mental conviction to the victory in which he powered from behind to best Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL – Jumbo) and Jakub Mareczko (Wilier Triestina) to line honours.

The triumph was different to that from the textbook lead-out he had the day prior, with nearly all sprinters appearing to lose what was left of their trains after a corner about 1.5km from the finish.

“It’s a moment where you almost think, oh, now it’s over maybe, but that’s the wrong way to think about it,” Kittel said.

“One of my old sports directors said ‘the finish is at the finish line’ and it sounds very simple but it’s actually true because unless you have crossed the finish line, you can still go for the victory. I think that mentality kept me in contention for the victory today.”

The 186km stage from Dubai to Ras Al Khaimah was shaping to be a carbon copy of the day prior.

The escape was again caught 10km from the finish but the similarities started to run out from there.

Kittel’s Quick-Step team this time helped Mark Cavendish’s Dimension Data squad set the pace at the front of the bunch, which split across open road inside the last 5km with LottoNL-Jumbo steering off to one side.

The peloton regrouped as teams then began to swell at the front with Trek-Segafredo moving up for John Degenkolb. Quick-Step appeared to be pushed out with some 2km remaining, but shortly after began to quickly recover space.

LottoNL-Jumbo wrangled and took control out of the important turn but it was that and a powerhouse German sprinter which ultimately influenced final terms.

“It’s always a problem if you go with one big peloton with fresh legs to a finish like this when everyone knows in that corner you have to be in front,” Kittel said. “It was not really a surprise for us but still, you never really know what happens. It was clear it wasn’t going to be like yesterday … where you can really stretch out the peloton.

“It’s nice to win like this, when you jump a little bit from wheel to wheel.”