Viviani survives the crosswinds to take stage 2 of Abu Dhabi Tour

Elia Viviani

Elia Viviani continued his fine form in the UAE by winning stage 2 of the Abu Dhabi Tour. The Italian won out in a bunch sprint ahead of Danny Van Poppel (LottoNl-Jumbo) and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe).

Viviani was caught at the wrong end of the peloton in the crosswinds, but the 30-second gap that opened didn’t discourage the 29-year-old, who even traded pulls together with his Quick-Step Floors teammates until they erased the deficit and a regrouping took place inside the last 20 kilometers.

The victory comes weeks after Viviani won the overall title at the Dubai Tour, and the Italian will adorn the red jersey for the overall leader of the Abu Dhabi Tour for Friday’s third stage.

“I need to break the ice on the first day of a stage race. Usually, I don’t win the first sprint. It’s been the case again but I was very confident today,” said Viviani.

“Also in the echelons, I felt strong and I was willing to pull. We had Julian Alaphilippe and Enric Mas in the front group. It was good for our GC but we also wanted to win the stage, so I asked the guys to wait for me and close the gap.

“When we regrouped with 20km to go, I said we put all our efforts into the last corner. The young Alvaro Hodeg is unbelievable in his preparation for my sprint. Michael Morkov is always in the right place and I trust Fabio Sabatini 100 per cent. for the lead out. With such a team, it was easy for me to finish it off.”

Abu Dhabi Tour 2018 – stage 2 results (Yas Mall – Yas Beach):

1 Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors)

3:15:30

2 Danny Van Poppel (LottoNl-Jumbo)

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3 Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe)

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4 Kristoffer Halvorsen (Team Sky)

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5 Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott)

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6 Phil Bauhaus (Team Sunweb)

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7 Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates)

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8 Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida)

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9 Rudy Barbier (AG2R La Mondiale)

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10 Mark Renshaw (Dimension Data)

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