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by Neal Rogers
February 10, 2018
In today’s Daily News Digest: Colbrelli takes uphill sprint at Dubai Tour, Viviani retains GC lead; Alalphilippe wins uphill sprint at Colombia Oro y Paz, takes race lead; Life after Sky: With move to Quick-Step, Viviani is quickly building momentum; Oh-so-close for Rally’s Brandon McNulty at Dubai Tour; Gaviria’s hat trick: Three for three in Colombia Oro y Paz sprints; Sagan announces two new gran fondo events in California; Specialized launches new S-Works 7 road shoes and Evade II aero road helmet; Colnago updates flagship road bike with C64.
Italy’s Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) accelerated from a long way out on the uphill finish at Hatta Dam to put a cruel end to the breakaway hopes of American rookie Brandon McNulty (Rally Cycling). Magnus Cort Nielsen (Astana) and Timo Roosen (LottoNL-Jumbo) rounded out the podium. Sixth across the line, Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) retained the leader’s jersey with one day to go into the fifth edition of the Dubai Tour.
“I really wanted to repay my team for the excellent work they had done for me since the very beginning of the Dubai Tour,” Colbrelli said. “Vincenzo Nibali has had a decisive role in the finale today. It’s great to have him along. He’s the first who’s ready to disrupt the plans of the pure sprinters and I hope the work he’s doing here will help him reach his goals this year. I had a mechanical problem with 20km to go. But I chose to keep the same bike and ride on the 53 gear until the end but it was very difficult to finish it off. The last 50 meters were never ending. Four seconds deficit on Elia Viviani aren’t much but he’s a faster sprinter than me. However, I’ll try to win again tomorrow.”
Young American Brandon McNulty (Rally Cycling) was the breakaway hero of the day. The former U23 world time-trial champion rode in the breakaway, along with teammate Robin Carpenter, until he went solo with 15km remaining, and though he was pedaling much slower than the peloton on the steep climb to tHatta Dam, he was not caught until the final 50 meters.
Viviani said he’s got his eyes set on two goals on the final stage — another victory, as well as the overall title.
“At the end of the day, it’s better to have an advantage of two seconds on Magnus Cort Nielsen than four seconds on Marcel Kittel or Mark Cavendish ahead of the last stage,” he said. “I think I’ll sleep well tonight because I have a great team to defend my leading position. My main goal tomorrow can be to win the sprint. It would be the ideal way to finish the Dubai Tour.”