Reported by Matthew Thomas
Marcel Kittel claimed his second stage win in the space of 3 days to secure his first Tour of Dubai. The twenty-seven year old German overhauled overnight leader Giacomo Nizzolo of team Trek-Segafredo who needed to finish in the top 2 to claim the overall title but could only manage 6th in a blisteringly quick final sprint on the flat roads of the Business Bay stage.
It all came down to the final sprint which finished right under the shadows of the Burj Khalifa. The powerful rider managed to time his attack perfectly. The Etixx-Quick-Step team were able to keep the dangerous Italian sprinters at bay leaving Kittel to claim the accolades.
It’s the sweetest of returns to form and fitness for the cyclist who had a 2015 season plagued by illness. He spent most of the year battling a crippling virus so just to see the talented German back in the saddle will an uncomfortable sight for his rivals when the grand tours start in earnest.
Kittel is very much a rising star of cycling who had a brilliant 2013-14 season. He has already amassed eight grand tour stage wins across the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia and will be looking to add to his total this year. Relishing the fresh start this tour win has afforded him Kittel commented, “I’m incredibly proud to start 2016 like this. This win in Dubai is a perfect base to start the season”.
Last year’s winner, Mark Cavendish, had to settle for third in the final stage and will still regard his renowned finishing speed as a work in progress. The Isle of Man rider may have one eye on the velodrome this year with the Rio Olympics looming large on the horizon. A gold medal at the pinnacle of all sporting events in one title to have eluded Cavendish and this may well affect his road racing this year. Only time will tell.
Meanwhile the white jersey for best young rider went to Moroccan Soufiane Haddi of local team, Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team. With so many young riders gracing the field this year there are certainly some stars of future that are beginning to make a name for themselves on the roads of Dubai.