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by Mark Zalewski
February 24, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Cavendish takes first 2017 win at Abu Dhabi Tour; McCabe wins second stage of Tour de Langkawi, Gibbons into lead; Dennis wins Tour de La Provence as Mattia Cattaneo takes final stage; Ariesen wins second stage of Volta ao Alentejo; Cycling Australia poaches Sky’s Simon Jones to head high performance; Van Avermaet heads into Spring Classics with confidence of an Olympic champion; Owain Doull claims disc rotor sliced his shoe in sprint crash on Abu Dhabi stage; Women’s Amstel Gold Race will use traditional Cauberg finish; Belgians Boonen, Vanmarcke ready to start Classics season at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne; Baloise Belgium Tour announces 2017 route; Laura Kenny awarded 2016 FT Bidlake Memorial Prize; Trial date set for Armstrong federal whistleblower case; Highlights: Abu Dhabi Tour, stage 1; Highlights: Volta ao Alentejo, stage 1.
After a couple of near wins at the Dubai Tour at the beginning of the month, and a quiet Volta ao Algarve last week, Mark Cavendish opened up his 2017 win account on the opening stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour, ahead of André Greipel and Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain Merida).
“The team was fantastic, really the lads did a phenomenal job today and I can’t fault anyone in the team,” said Cavendish. “We knew that last corner was where it was going to count though and we had to get there first. We were hugging the barrier and I think it was a new guy from Orica, who tried to come up the inside. When I saw the barrier I thought, ah no, there is no way you’ll get your whole team through there and next thing we heard the crash behind. I hope everyone is alright from that crash.
“Through the corner when Reinie went, the South African champion, you actually have to tell him to slow down because he is so strong. He just gave us so much speed and then Mark could go. I wanted to go a bit late obviously with the wind, but Bonifazio went early which played into my hands because I could just bounce off him and go through.
“I’m really happy with the win and the jersey obviously, this is a special race to me and its great motivation for the whole team.”