Final KM: Dubai St2, Qatar St3, Besseges St2, Sun Tour St1, Valenciana St2!

It was another good day for Team Sky and Etixx-QuickStep so let’s get to it. Here are your Final KMs from Tour of Dubai, Ladies Tour of Qatar, Etoile de Besseges, Herald Sun Tour and Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.

Dubai Tour, Stage 2, Dubai Int’l Marine Club to Palm Jumeirah, 183km

Whoever’s idea it was to put a tunnel just before the flamme rouge on this stage should never be allowed to design a course again. A crash inside the tunnel held up Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish (who, after giving an unexplained headbutt to a CCC rider, finished 10th) and paved the way for Team Sky’s Elia Viviani to take his first victory of the season. Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) and Giacomo Nizzoli (Trek-Segafredo) rounded out the podium.

Viviani takes the blue leader’s jersey and the points jersey (although Kittel has only dropped to second in both categories with no time gap between him and Viviani) and Marcin Bialoblocki (ONE Pro Cycling) takes the best young rider jersey.

 

Ladies Tour of Qatar, Stage 3, Al Zubarah Fort to Madinat Al Shamal, 112km

Another windy, sandy stage for the women. Out of the day’s breakaway, Ellen van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans) time-trialled her way to a solo victory, with Kirsten Wild (Hitec Products) and Lauretta Hanson (AusDevTeam) coming second and third respectively. Trixi Worrack (Canyon SRAM Racing) moves into the gold leader’s jersey; Wild remains in silver and Hanson wears best young rider jersey.

Here, van Dijk talks about her stage victory.

Herald Sun Tour, Stage 1, Healesville to Healesville (Yarra Valley), 126km

Sky’s Peter Kennaugh and Chris Froome gave the field something to think about with a one-two finish 17secs ahead of the chasing pack, with Dion Smith (ONE) coming in third. Kennaugh moves into the leader’s jersey and the points jersey, Froome takes the KOM and Chris Hamilton (Avanti Isowhey Sports) wears the best young rider jersey.

Here’s Stage 1 action (and irreverent comments), courtesy of Orica’s Backstage Pass.

Etoile de Besseges, Stage 2, Nimes to Mejannes-le-Clap, 153km

Meanwhile, back in France, it was a replay of yesterday’s stage with Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) taking the victory, ahead of Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) and Dimitri Claeys (Wanty-Groupe Gobert). Coquard stays in the leader’s jersey.

Screen shot 2016-02-04 at 20.12.21

Possibly the strangest victory salute you’ll ever see – it’s Bryan Coquard winning stage 2 (Image: L’Equip)

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, Stage 2, Castellón to Fredes, 163.3km

Last, but not least, we have Dan Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) coming out of the blocks strong this season with an impressive kick to take the summit finish by 2sec over Movistar’s Jesus Herrada. Sky’s Wout Poels (or Poelsy, as we decided on Twitter today) limited his losses to come in third and stay in the leader’s jersey. Etixx must be pleased that their new high-profile signings have both made some noise this week.

Screen shot 2016-02-04 at 20.21.26

Links:

Official site for Herald Sun Tour, Twitter #SunTour

Official site for Dubai Tour, Twitter #DubaiTour

Official site for Ladies Tour of Qatar, Twitter #LTOQ2016

Official site for Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana,Twitter #VCV2016

Header image: Chris Froome and Peter Kennaugh (© MAL FAIRCLOUGH/AFP/Getty Images)

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