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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.
Stage 4 of the Dubai Tour ended with a nail-biting finish for Brandon McNulty (Rally Cycling). The 19-year-old former world junior time trial champion from Phoenix, Arizona, came within 50 meters of winning the biggest race in the team’s history.
“To be in a situation where the world’s top cyclists are chasing one of our riders after our tactics played out as planned is a really good sign,” said Rally director Eric Wohlberg. “We looked at the wind conditions and the nature of the final 40km of the race and thought we should have a go with Robin and Brandon in the break. Robin totally committed and Brandon almost pulled off the grand coup.”
Early in the stage, teammate Robin Carpenter joined Brandon to form an elite breakaway group. The finish of Hatta Dam and its 20% grade proved to be too much for McNulty as the world’s top teams hit the panic button when the stage and overall race win looked to be in the balance. If McNulty had held off the chasers, he would have found himself wearing one of the sport’s most prestigious prizes.
“With 1 km to go I thought I had won the entire race,” McNulty said. “With 500 meters to go I still thought I had won the race. Then with 200 meters to go, I hit the steep part of the climb and the legs locked up. I looked back, saw the field and held on until 50 meters to go. All of a sudden guys were flying by me. It was the team’s plan to get Robin and I the road and we were able to execute that really well. Initially we thought the steep finish would suit Robin better but with maybe 30 km left to race, Robin told me he was hurting. I was feeling great so he put in some massive pulls in the wind before leaving it to Connor Dunne (Aqua Blue Sport) and me.”