After a slow day in Abu Dhabi, Cavendish brings the heat

After a day of cycling in slow motion, Mark Cavendish reached top speed in the last 400 meters on Monday to edge Jasper Philipsen and win the second stage of the UAE Tour.

“I knew we could win here,” Cavendish said.

On the second day of the season’s first World Tour race, the field drove through a flat stage of 173 km that toured Abu Dhabi, with the speed decreasing to 20 km / h.

Eventually, the sprinters’ team picked up the pace.

Quick-Step rider Cavendish went early and held Belgian Philipsen, winner of Sunday’s opening stage.

“A third of the team are first-year professionals, so this is the first or second race of their careers,” Cavendish said. “They were super professional today.

“Their job was to get me to the final where I felt as fresh as possible and they did it so well that I was able to launch with 300 to 350m to go against the wind. I’m glad I did. that I could keep Philipsen away. “

German Pascal Ackermann, who runs for the home team UAE, was just behind in third place.

Philipsen, who drives for Alpecin-Fenix, maintained his four-second lead in the overall standings, with Russian Dimitry Strakhov from Gazprom as number two. Cavendish climbed to third place.

“I was only missing a few watts today,” Philipsen said. “I was a little far back at the end, but I just had to go. I knew it was going to be a tough sprint because of the headwind, and Mark was the fastest today.”

Strakhov cut Philips’ lead in the points classification after spending a hot, windy day focusing on intermediate sprints.

Tuesday’s stage is a 9km time trial around the village of Ajman, which should give Team UAE star Tadej Pogacar a chance to shine.

dlo / gf / pb / jc

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