Crosswind chaos and a sprinting masterclass from Quick-Step Floors – you can’t ask for much more from desert racing.
Stage 2: Yas Mal to Yas Beach, 154km
Quick-Step Floor’s Elia Viviani is ON FIRE!! He called for action from the Wolfpack when he was caught out in the crosswinds and surged late and fast to deliver his 4th stage win of the year by a country mile. Danny van Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Pascal Ackerman (BORA-hansgrohe) rounded out the podium. Viviani takes the race lead from Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Emirates) on countback with van Poppel in third at +4secs.
Viviani has dovetailed seamlessly into Marcel Kittel’s old Quicksteppers train. Take a look at the final kilometre and watch how Julian Alaphilippe, Alvaro Hodeg, Michael Morkov and Fabio Sabatini deliver their new fast man with ease.
…and the Italian’s pace and power in the final metres is outstanding. They’re going to win a bucket load of races again in 2018. More power to the Wolfpack.
When the desert wind blows….
Admittedly not the most visually exciting of parcours but those long straight roads create perfect echelon action when the crosswind strikes.Embed from Getty Images
Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) and race leader Kristoff also found themselves the wrong side of the splits and chasing the action as Katusha Alpecin and Movistar put everyone in the gutter. In the midst of chaos Alejandro Valverde snuck away from the lead group to grab bonus seconds at an intermediate sprint. Movistar’s captain is only 7secs away from the leader’s jersey with climbs to come. A fruitful day’s work from the Spanish team.
Good to see Sky’s Kristoffer Halvorsen back in action with a 4th place. You may remember the crash on his professional debut at the People’s Classic in January which left him with a broken hand.
Full race report at Cycling News
Header image: Elia Viviani – Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images