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by Shane Stokes
February 24, 2018
Bauhaus wins stage 3 of the Abu Dhabi Tour; Bastinelli wins stage 2 of the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana; Kittel: ‘I was just one 1000th of a second too late’; Report: Astana in danger of folding due to financial issues; Viviani believes defence of race lead is unlikely; Brailsford takes up permanent role at Team Sky; Lobato signs for Nippo-Vini Fantini; New 100 mile closed-road event confirmed for UK; Video: Flanders Classics’ theme; Video: 360 degree cameras in the peloton
Winner of stage two on Thursday and clearly one of the in-form riders at this point of the season, Elia Viviani had to make do with fourth on Friday’s third stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour. Reflecting on the result afterwards, he said that wind conditions at the finish might have cost him the win.
“The entire team was great again, protecting me in the crosswinds and delivering me in a good position at the finish,” he said. “I came out of the last corner with 500 meters to go piloted by Saba [Fabio Sabatini], but unfortunately the stiff headwind was a big factor, even bigger than on the first day.
“I’m a bit frustrated for not getting the win, but that’s cycling: sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t.” Viviani is now three seconds ahead of fellow stage winners Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) and Phil Bauhaus (Team Sunweb) and a full 19 points ahead of the former in the points classification.
“I am satisfied after these flat stages, because I have the leader’s jersey and a hefty advantage in the green jersey classification, thanks to three top five placings and today’s intermediate sprint,” he said. “Now I’ll go full gas in the time trial and then try to help our GC guys on the fifth stage.”
But what of his own prospects against the clock? He’ll do what he can, but doesn’t sound optimistic that he can hang on. “It’s cool to ride the time trial tomorrow with the red jersey,” he said. “I’ll go full gas to respect the jersey even though it’s probably four kilometres too long for me to defend the lead.”