Trek-Segafredo rider Degenklob claims Stage 3

Elbowed Kittel retains blue and red jerseys as Dubai Tour enters final two stages

Image Credit: Organiser
John Degenkolb of Trek — Segafredo wins the Stage 3 of the 2017 Dubai Tour. Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) keeps the lead in the overall general classification.
Khor Fakkan: Trek-Segafredo rider John Degenkolb threw open the race for the 2017 Dubai Tour honours as he clinched top honours in an incident-marred Dubai Silicon Oasis Stage that concluded in Al Aqah, on Thursday.
Turning into the final left with less than a kilometre of the 200km stage, Degenkolb found an extra punch in his legs to power ahead of Team Dimension Data’s Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg and Italian Sonny Colbrelli from Team Bahrain-Merida. Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle of Team Lotto NL-Jumbo finished fourth, while Astana Pro Team rider Riccardo Minali completed the top-five for the stage.
Defending champion and winner of the first two stages Marcel Kittel was stuck in the middle of the peloton, his defence hopes slightly dented by an incident at the beginning part of the stage. As riders jostled for positions, Astana Pro Team’s Ukrainian rider Andrey Grivko reportedly connected Kittel’s face with an elbow that saw the German ride the remainder of the stage with blood streaming from a gash from above his left eye.
By the time spectators had started dispersing from the venue the race jury had announced the suspension of the Astana Pro Team rider from the start line of Friday’s stage.
However, Kittel continued to lead while holding an eight-second advantage in the overall general classification and a nine-point cushion in the points classification over fellow German Degenkolb going into the penultimate fourth stage that is scheduled to conclude atop the scenic Hatta Dam on Friday.
“The key to the race today was to stay calm, stay together as a team and help each other along the way. In the end I was very, very satisfied that we got our timing right,” Degenkolb said.
The German rider, who had won the third stage of the Dubai Tour in 2015, was pleased to find winning form so early in the season. “We need to learn to get a feeling for each other in the team. This tour is a big chance for us again and we will see if the final two stages are as lucky as today,” Degenklob added.
Riders found it increasingly hard to tackle gusty wind conditions in the open desert areas of Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah. After the first 19km, Mark Christian, Loic Vliegen, Luka Pibernik and Alex Dowsett managed to form a breakaway group more than 4.20 minutes away the chasing blue jersey peloton.
Less than halfway into the stage, the main peloton split after a crash involving riders from Badriani CSF and One Pro Cycling. Immediately after this, Kittel fell 42 seconds behind the main peloton only to re-group with the main bunch along with Belgian challenger Groenewegen.
However, with the incident taking prominence Kittel found it difficult to make his way through the crowd and clinch a third straight stage win in this year’s Dubai Tour. “For sure, the punching incident was a huge distraction. It broke my concentration,” Kittel fumed.
“Tomorrow is another day and we will re-group and see what we need to do,” he added.
Shaikh Abdullah Bin Mohammad Bin Saif Al Sharqi, vice-chairman, Asian Body Building Federation and Chairman, UAE Body Building Association was joined by Dr Jamal Al Matrooshi, Deputy CEO, Dubai Silicon Oasis at the jerseys’ presentation.
Gulf News

Date : 2/2/2017 8:42:27 PM

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