• Marcel Kittel won the final stage and the overall classification at the 2017 Dubai Tour. Kittel won all but one of the stages contested (Dubai Tour)Source: Dubai Tour
Marcel Kittel easily claimed the fifth and final stage of the Dubai Tour after finding his own way within the closing metres of a frenetic finish.
By
Sophie Smith

Source:
Cycling Central
5 Feb 2017 - 10:08 AM  UPDATED 6 Feb 2017 - 11:43 AM

Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) beat Elia Viviani (Sky) and Riccardo Minali (Astana) to easily defend the tour title.

Fellow German fast man John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) was the only other rider to celebrate victory at the race, claiming the third stage with the fourth cancelled under Extreme Weather Protocol.

“It was a difficult final because there were not many corners and it was about positioning. I think we did that very well, we were there and I was feeling good in the sprint, could show my strength, and I’m happy we can go home with the GC,” Kittel said.

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) bashed his handlebars in frustration over the finish line after a stage his team appeared to have locked down within the final 10km before Quick-Step moved up.

Cavendish had Australian lead-out specialist Mark Renshaw in the home straight but was disadvantaged he said by a gear problem, which was unfortunate symmetry after a rear wheel puncture scuppered his chances in the opening stage.

“I didn’t get any wins but I think after working throughout the week, the team was incredible. That was exactly how we planned to execute today, except for the win. But I’m happy,” Cavendish said.

“I’m better than I thought I was, so that’s alright. That’s a positive I can take.”

The tour this year was a supremely sprint-friendly affair with the penultimate stage to Hatta Dam, which featured short but very steep sections to the finish, cancelled in a unanimous decision between all stakeholders.

The race served as a “world championship” for Kittel last year, who was then coming back from a season drastically affected by illness, and racing with a new team.

This year the 28-year-old won an “eventful” edition, in which he was punched by expelled Astana rider Andrei Grivko. He competed at strength and with a now familiar squad capable of propelling him to more success throughout the year, and leading up to the Tour de France, which will compromise the pinnacle of his season.

“I think it’s something special again because there are not many opportunities when I have the chance to go for general classification,” he said.

“I’m proud to go for it because it also shows consistency over a few days, not only by myself but also my team and that’s a strength you have to build-up during the winter [pre-season]. There is a team spirit we have that makes this possible and I’m very happy to enjoy that.”