Dubai Tour, stage 4: Colbrelli wins on Hatta Dam; Viviani defends lead

DUBAI, UAE (AFP) — Italian Sonny Colbrelli won Friday’s stage 4 of the Dubai Tour in an uphill sprint finish as compatriot Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) maintained the overall lead.

“Vincenzo Nibali has had a decisive role in the finale today,” said Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) of his teammate, another Italian. “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.”

Top 10, stage 4

  • 1. Sonny Colbrelli, BAHRAIN – MERIDA, in 3:40:50
  • 2. Magnus Cort Nielsen, ASTANA PRO TEAM, s.t.
  • 3. Timo Roosen, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, s.t.
  • 4. Alexander Kristoff, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, s.t.
  • 5. Giacomo Nizzolo, TREK – SEGAFREDO, s.t.
  • 6. Elia Viviani, QUICK – STEP FLOORS, s.t.
  • 7. Tom Bohli, BMC RACING TEAM, s.t.
  • 8. Nacer Bouhanni, COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS, s.t.
  • 9. Loïc Vliegen, BMC RACING TEAM, s.t.
  • 10. Nathan Van Hooydonck, BMC RACING TEAM, s.t.

Top-10 overall

  • 1. Elia Viviani, QUICK – STEP FLOORS, in 16:00:28
  • 2. Magnus Cort Nielsen, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at :02
  • 3. Sonny Colbrelli, BAHRAIN – MERIDA, at :04
  • 4. Nathan Van Hooydonck, BMC RACING TEAM, at :07
  • 5. Nacer Bouhanni, COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS, at :08
  • 6. Loïc Vliegen, BMC RACING TEAM, s.t.
  • 7. Timo Roosen, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at :10
  • 8. Alexander Kristoff, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, at :14
  • 9. Jean-Pierre Drucker, BMC RACING TEAM, at s.t.
  • 10. Dylan Teuns, BMC RACING TEAM, at s.t.

Colbrelli had a mechanical with about 20 kilometers to go. He chose to stick with his original bike, forcing him to sprint up the final climb in a 53-tooth big ring.

“The last 50 meters were never-ending,” he said.

Riding that big gear, Colbrelli surged clear on the finish to Hatta Dam ahead of Dane Magnus Cort Nielsen (Astana) and Timo Roosen (LottoNL-Jumbo) after lone escapee Brandon McNulty (Rally) was hauled in shortly before the finish.

The 19-year-old American lost a 45-second lead on the short final climb at the end of the 172km stage.

“I don’t know if it was pacing,” McNulty said. “I was just going as hard as I could and trying to hold on as long as I could. I was surprised, [the gap] was 42, and then I saw it was 50, so I was like, ‘Oh wow, there’s a legit shot.’ But then I hit the wall.”

Viviani finished sixth on the stage and now leads Cort Nielsen by two seconds overall with Colbrelli third at four seconds.

The race ends with Saturday’s 132km fifth and final stage. “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,” said Viviani, who favors his odds to keep the overall.