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"It was a short stage and everyone wanted to be and the front. Andy Fenn and Ben Swift worked perfectly for me. They took first position with 3km to go, and 700m out, I knew it was going to be difficult to beat me."

Photo: Sirotti






11.10.2015 @ 20:56 Posted by Andy Pedersen

Elia Viviani ensured that Team Sky ended the Abu Dhabi Tour in style as he sprinted to a second stage victory under the lights.


The Italian was towed into position by his Team Sky team-mates in the closing kilometres and was able to pick the perfect line through the final turns of the Yas Marina Formula One circuit.


Heading onto the final straight Viviani was able to kick and hold off world champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) at the stripe, wrapping up the green points jersey in the process.


Finishing safely in the pack Wout Poels was also able to hold on for a hard-fought third place overall, a position the Dutchman effectively cemented a day earlier despite a crash, with an impressive ride on the Jebel Hafeet summit finish.


With Viviani showing supreme late-season form Team Sky made sure he was supported during the 110km final test, which comprised of 20 laps of the striking motor racing facility. As the sun went down Sebastien Henao helped to control the situation at the head of the peloton as a three-man group out front were gradually clawed back.


With Leopold Konig supporting Poels, the stage was set and with two kilometres to go Andy Fenn powered to the front of the peloton with Ben Swift and Viviani in his slipstream. After both he and Swift had emptied the tank Viviani dropped into position before completing a textbook victory.


Overall success in the inaugural four-day event went to Esteban Chaves, with the Orica-GreenEdge rider retaining the 16-second lead he garnered on Saturday's queen stage.


"I think we did a perfect job at the finish with Andy and Swifty," Viviani told after the stage. "The feeling during the last part of the season has been really really good. They were incredible, as 3km from the finish they were up at the front - two riders taking me all the way to 500 metres to go. They are strong guys and I have to say thank you to them for giving me the opportunity to take the victory.


"On this stage it was very important to do the work and take a good position into the last corner. When I saw Bennati and Oss in front of me I thought, 'okay these guys are fast but not faster than me'. It was perfect because they had a good progression, and when I decided to go I could go. I knew it would be easier to stay at the front. It was a close finish but when I crossed the line I knew immediately that I had won.


"It was really, really close. Peter Sagan was on my wheel coming into the last corner. I looked behind and saw him on my right, so I knew he was there, but when I saw Bennati start his sprint, I knew that I was in the perfect position, and launched my sprint at 150m. In the previous lap, I understood that it was better to just behind the leader, and then sprint, and I was happy to get across the line in first position. 

"It was a really fast stage on a really fast circuit. The corners are really wide and we never touched the brakes all stage. It was a short stage and everyone wanted to be and the front. Andy Fenn and Ben Swift worked perfectly for me. They took first position with 3km to go, and 700m out, I knew it was going to be difficult to beat me. I have to thank those two guys: they win races for themselves, then come and help me in the sprints.


"With two stage wins and the points title, this race has gone perfectly for me. Andy Fenn was really strong, and Ben Swift too. They led me into the best possible position before the final corner. I knew Sagan was on my wheel because I glimpsed the Rainbow Jersey to my right. I opened my sprint with 150m to go and, although it was very close, he didn't come past. I have taken a big step up this year with Team Sky, with my stage win in the Giro, and a total of 9 wins, even if I would have liked to have made it ten.

"I'm in good shape after the Worlds. I'm preparing to do some track to win Olympic points, and I have good sprint legs and power. I'm disappointed with my World Championship results but I think all the cycling world is happy to have Sagan as World Champion.


"Peter is so funny. That is why I think he is a good World Champion. He is always good for a spectacle. all these funny things are good for TV and the fans on the road. 

"All the riders are going to the Cycling Gala. It's great to finish the road season this way, even if I still have another 20 days before the track appointment because I want my Olympic qualification before I take a good holiday. So another 20 days on the bike for me, then I can stop my season.

"There was a little problem in the first stage because we were in the middle of the desert and the temperatures were high, and we had come from Europe where it was colder. Maybe we need to come a few days before to get used to it. Stages 2 and 3 were a bit better. I think it's a good race to end the season, because the riders are tired, and there is only one climb, at the end of a stage, and three short, sprint stages. I think this night time stage tonight is spectacular for the riders."


With Viviani now turning his focus to the track ahead of the European Championships next week, the Italian is happy with how his first season as a Team Sky rider has gone, securing eight victories, winning as early as February in Dubai, and now in October in Abu Dhabi.


"These two races came in two good periods for me," he explained. "Dubai was one week before the world championships on the track and I was in good shape. Also this part of the season now is good for me as I need to do another 20 days on the track. After the roads worlds I am not lacking in motivation and I wanted to take some results after all that work I did for the worlds. The result paid off for all the work we have done.


"I think we've done a great job in the last half of the season. Since the Tour of Britain we have done amazing work. It is just a shame we did not get lucky for the GC as Wout had the crash on the last corner yesterday. He is really strong and he has shown that when he is not working for a big captain like Froomey or Richie he can take his opportunities in the one-week races."



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