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"Entering the WorldTour, the level of the Abu Dhabi Tour will be even higher. It’s a race for sprinters but GC gets decided in one climb. I’m yet to study my race program for next but if I’m fit enough in February, I&...

Photo: Sirotti

ABU DHABI TOUR

RACE PROFILE
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NEWS

GIACOMO NIZZOLO

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

MARK CAVENDISH

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

NICOLAS ROCHE

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

TANEL KANGERT

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS
23.10.2016 @ 21:38 Posted by Andy Pedersen

The final stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour ended with Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) taking his second stage of the 2016 edition and tenth win of the season. The sprint was dominant and Cavendish outsprinted Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) and Elia Viviani (Team Sky). Tanel Kangert (Astana) won the overall GC ahead of Nicolas Roche (Team Sky) and Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida).

 

Kangert: I would love to return and fight for my title next year

Italian sprinter Andrea Guardini was the best finisher on the last stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour for Astana, but it was the Estonian race leader Tanel Kangert who was in focus. After taking the red jersey yesterday after an exciting encounter, Kangert was crowned as the winner of the 2016 edition of the race today.

 

Speaking seconds after the stage finish, the race winner Tanel Kangert said: "I must say it was more difficult that it might look like because the corners were really tight. I was surprised they were so tight for car racing. It made the race special with the lights and the dark. In the end I was pretty tired just keeping the wheels. I can't say there wasn't any pressure because there was, and I felt it. I was excited to race in the leader's jersey. It was my first time leading a professional race. I'm happy everything went well and I might be back soon to defend the title in February.”

 

In the press conference, the Abu Dhabi Tour winner, Tanel Kangert, said: "I have to say I was a little bit nervous before but better have some nerves than nothing at all. I was not stressing too much though because it was flat with no side wind to make it dangerous. I was excited to race but nervous to wear the jersey. I’m delighted to win the overall ranking. Entering the WorldTour, the level of the Abu Dhabi Tour will be even higher. It’s a race for sprinters but GC gets decided in one climb. I’m yet to study my race program for next but if I’m fit enough in February, I’d love to come back and defend my title".

 

Cavendish: The team brought me all the way to the line

The final stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour brought the 2016 season to a close and Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka couldn't have asked for a better ending as Mark Cavendish sprinted to victory, thanks to a perfect leadout by the African Team.

 

Eisel captained the train as the riders started the final lap, keeping the Manxman well placed heading into the final few corners. Eisel hit the front with 2km to go and when he was done, Reguigui followed with his maximal effort. Despite a Giant-Alpecin rider slipping into the train before the final corner at 300m to go, it was like poetry in motion watching the African Team perfect the finale. Renshaw led through the last right-hander and when the road opened for Cavendish, there was no stopping the Manx Missle from winning on the home straight. The stage podium was completed by Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) and Elia Viviani (Team Sky) respectively.

 

The stage winner, Mark Cavendish, said: "I'm so happy to be the winner of the final stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour on the YAS Marina Circuit. There was an incredible atmosphere. I missed the race last year because I was injured and I was really jealous of the boys racing, especially on this last day. It was very fast. My team-mates controlled the group really well the whole day. I got an incredible lead out. Mark Renshaw was very calm going into the finale. I just had to jump".

 

“The stage was left to Dimension Data to control, none of the other sprint teams wanted to help at all which was quite strange because we have won a stage and they haven't. Nevertheless, we have the two strongest guys in the race to pull on the front in Mekseb and Jay. They just controlled the break incredibly and stayed so long that the leadout could take over easily. They gave us stability at the front and I had Bernie, Youcef and Mark to lead me out in the final 2km and they did an incredible job. It was important to be at the front because there was a lot of wind and a lot of corners. Giant nearly got the jump on us so I thought it would do me a favour if one of them gets in between myself and Mark, so I let him in but he couldn't hold Mark's wheel in the sprint. I was still able to use his slingshot and then Mark's slingshot in front to accelerate in the last 200 meters. I am really happy to have won the stage again. It's another win and good exposure for our sponsors and Qhubeka, so it was really nice to be able to do that,” Cavendish said.

 

Roche: It was a nice result to bring with me for the winter

Nicolas Roche wrapped up second place overall at the Abu Dhabi Tour while Elia Viviani sprinted to third on the final stage. The Irish champion had laid the groundwork for his rostrum during Saturday's queen stage and the Jebel Hafeet summit finish. The bunch sprint also allowed Tanel Kangert (Astana) to make sure of the red jersey, winning the race by a margin of 21 seconds.

 

After the race, second classified overall Nicolas Roche said: "I’m happy with my result and the season being over. At this stage in the season 2016, every race is important. I’m happy to have performed in my last week with the team and my last week of racing in the year. It’s good to finish on a high note in preparation for the winter".

 

Nizzolo is satisfied despite finishing 2nd on the stage

Nizzolo was too far back. He knew he had to make an effort; it was now or never. He sprinted into the wind, using precious energy to move forward and grab Mark Cavendish's (Dimension Data) wheel. In the final 500 meters, he had the position he wanted. But the effort to get there would cost him.

 

Two hundred meters to go. Cavendish jumped. Nizzolo reacted. The two riders sprinted around the last lead-out rider. Cavendish went right. Nizzolo left.

 

Nizzolo started behind and had to make up ground, but he had already fired a bullet. Cavendish crossed the line first, arms in the air, as Nizzolo settled for second. His countryman Elia Viviani (Team Sky) was a distant third.

 

"In the last kilometer I had to make a big effort to take the right position behind Cavendish, and I paid for this effort in the last meters of the sprint," said Nizzolo. "Anyway, I'm quite happy because I had a good attitude and I was in the right spot at the right moment.”

 

"To ride in the F1 circuit for me was amazing," he added. "I am a huge fan of Motorsport and the atmosphere racing at night was great! I would have loved to finish the season off with a win, but I am satisfied with second."

 

Trek-Segafredo concluded the four days of the Abu Dhabi Tour with a stage win, a second place, top 10 GC, and a jersey. A fruitful ending to a long and successful season.

 

"At the end of the season we don’t know really what to expect," said director Adriano Baffi.  "But honestly we had great ambiance this race and a good performance. Sometimes you make the performance and do not get the results, so it was nice to see the rewards for the team's efforts.

 

"It was a very, very good week and also with the white jersey of Julien, that is something as well. To have a young rider get an achievement like this means a lot for me and for the team.

 

"I have to remark that it was a good week for the whole team, not just Giacomo and Julien. The spirit of everyone all week made these results possible. It was a good week and good way to end the year."

 

White Jersey winner, Julien Bernard, said: "It’s not been an easy day despite what people may have thought. We were riding fast all evening so we had to remain focused all the time and maintain a good position in order to spend the least possible energy. Everyone was kind of at the limit but I managed to avoid splits. Our sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo got the best result we could hope for with a second place behind Cavendish. We leave Abu Dhabi with a stage win, two podiums and a distinctive jersey, we couldn’t hope for more.”

 

Ulissi: I’m glad to be part of the honour roll

Third classified in General Classification, Diego Ulissi, said: "I’ve had a great season with six victories and a very consistent showing all year round. To cap it off with a podium finish here is a real satisfaction. It’s only the second year of the Abu Dhabi Tour but the event is already very prestigious. I’m glad to be part of the honour roll".

 

Orica DS: It was amazing to see Keukeleire being awarded for his efforts

Belgian Jens Keukeleire came through the final stage of the Abu Dabi Tour unscathed today to win the intermediate sprint classification for ORICA-BikeExchange. Two-time Vuelta a Espana stage winner Magnus Cort sprinted to fourth place in the sprint with Australian Michael Matthews following close behind in seventh.

 

The stage was won by Mark Cavendish (Dimension-Data) with Tanel Kangert (Astana) taking the overall race victory and Keukeleire the best placed rider for ORICA-BikeExchange in 17th overall.

 

Sport director Laurenzo Lapage praised the moral and work ethic within the team after a long season.

 

“Our first goal for today was to support Jens (Keukeleire) and hold onto the black jersey and the team achieved that objective without any problems,” said Lapage. “The way Jens has been racing since the Vuelta and through the World Championships has been fantastic and it is great to see him get something for his efforts.”

 

“The whole team have shown great motivation and work ethic over the last four days and after a long and arduous season we can all be very happy with what we have achieved. We wanted to position Magnus (Cort) and Michael (Matthews) as best we could for the sprint and after a fast final stage the boys held firm at the front and Magnus was very close to the podium again.”

 

“Magnus has shown great form in the second half of the season and as I said a couple of days ago he has reached a new level and is competing well against the fastest sprinters in the world, that’s great news for the future and for ORICA-BikeExchange.”

 

Farewell to the Tinkoff team after 18 years in the cycling world

Having already sprinted to two top tens in the opening days of the race, Michael Kolar was again up there at the end of the closing stage on the spectacular Yas Marina race circuit to take 10th. With no change on the GC after the stage, Alberto Contador and Jesper Hansen confirm their fifth and 10th places respectively.

 

After the stage, Sport Director Tristan Hoffman said: “The action was very normal for a sprint stage today, an early break and tempo behind in the bunch. We expected a sprint today but our boys didn’t have the legs to really get up there at the end. Overall, we competed well in the race, everyone did what they could, and we finish with two in the top ten and we’ve been active each day so I’m happy with what the boys have done.”

 

“That’s it now. In the end the team was started back in 1998, and I’ve been a part of it for many years now so it’s a shame as it is the end of an era.”

 

Drucker finished off satisfying BMC 2016 campaign

Jempy Drucker showed his sprinting consistency with his third top ten result at the Abu Dhabi Tour, when he sprinted to fifth place on stage 5. As the breakaway crossed the line with one lap remaining the peloton was on their heels and the race came back together for a fast and furious final lap. Drucker was well positioned in the final kilometer but was unable to overtake eventual winner Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data) and settled for fifth place on the line.

 

Jempy Drucker said on the finish line:

 

“Floris Gerts, Michael Schaer and Greg Van Avermaet did a perfect job in the final lap to position me well, and keep me out of trouble. It was really perfect teamwork. Into the last corner with 200m to go I had to go on the outside as there were guys on the inside which wasn’t so good. In the end I was up there in the sprint. The field of sprinters here is pretty big so I’m really happy to have had the confidence from the team in my ability to go for the sprint.”

 

“For sure winning a stage at the Vuelta a Espana is a big memory of the season. Winning a Grand Tour stage is something really special so to have achieved that this year is great. I really like that the team have supported me so much. I really tried to work hard on my sprinting in training so it’s nice to get some results. When you focus on it and it comes through, it’s a nice feeling.”

 

Yvon Ledanois, Sports Director said the following:

 

“I can say that I am honestly super happy with everyone today because they all crossed the finish line happy themselves, which was the goal. I said to them before the race that of course the objective was to go for the sprint with Jempy but I wanted them to enjoy their final race of the year. Everyone had a good go today, either by attacking or doing some great work to put Jempy in a good position. I think that this has been the theme throughout the four stages and now we have finished the 2016 season. The riders all deserve a good break and then it will be time to focus on 2017.”

 

Degenkolb missing at the front left Sinkeldam alone to sprint

The sprint trains formed at the front of the race in the final kilometres pushing the pace over 60km/h and as the sprint unfolded John Degenkolb wasn’t at the front after the riders lost one another, leaving Ramon to sprint for what he could in the final few hundred metres. After yesterday’s decisive GC stage where Martijn Tusveld put himself into eighth overall, the young stagiaire held on to his top ten position with no change in the GC today.

 

After the stage, Coach Mattias Reck told us:

 

“Everybody was really motivated for the race today as for some it was the last race for the team. They worked well during the stage but in the final kilometre lost one another leaving Ramon to do the sprint at the end on his own. It’s not the result we wanted but the guys have worked well together in the last four days and we can be happy with the race overall for us.”

 

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