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by Shane Stokes
February 23, 2018
Viviani wins stage 2 of the Abu Dhabi Tour; Barnes wins stage 1 of Setmana Ciclista Valenciana; Von Hoff fractures four vertebrae, yet keeps fingers crossed for Commonwealth Games; Olympic MTB champ Jenny Rissveds breaks contract to address mental health; Boonen takes up role with Lotto-Soudal and Captains of Cycling project; Shimano unveil new S-Phyre R and X premium eyewear; New Cannondale aero bike spotted; Video: WNT-Rotor ready for 2018
Having underlined his form and impressive gelling with his new QuickStep Floors team at the Dubai Tour, Elia Viviani topped the podium again on Thursday’s second stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour. The Italian rider blasted home in front of Danny van Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo), Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe), Kristoffer Halvorsen (Team Sky) and the rest of the main bunch.
At one point he was distanced when the peloton broke apart in crosswinds, but his team helped put him back in the frame and then set him up for his win. He thanked his teammates for their help, including leadout man Fabio Sabatini. “With Saba by my side I was very calm, because I trust him 100%, and his great lead-out made my job very easy,” he said.
“I was extremely motivated after losing yesterday and I am happy with how things played out and for repaying the guys for their incredible work. Now there’s no more pressure on us, so we’ll just enjoy the moment and try again tomorrow, before the GC men will hit the spotlight.”
The 154 kilometre stage ran along flat roads from Vas Mall to Vas Beach. Inevitably a breakaway group got clear, with stage one aggressor Charles Planet (Novo Nordisk) again going on the attack and being joined this time by Joey Rosskopf (BMC Racing Team), Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani CSF), Jaco Venter (Dimension Data) and Alexander Porsev (Gazprom Rusvelo).
They opened a lead of four minutes but the battle in the crosswinds saw them caught just inside 50 kilometres to go. The field eventually regrouped, leading to Viviani’s win. He now grabs the overall lead from stage one winner Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates), with Danny van Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo) third at four seconds.