Abu Dhabi: Cavendish snags stage 2 victory

The British rider will wear the leader's jersey during Saturday's stage 3.

Mark Cavendish won the second stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour and took over the race lead Friday.

The Dimension Data rider out-sprinted Sky’s Elia Viviani and Astana’s Andrea Guardini in an exciting finish.

“I am really happy with today, to get the win after going so close yesterday,” Cavendish said. “It was touch and go as to whether the break would be caught but the team rode hard up front. Mark [Renshaw] gave me a good leadout, it was only going to be difficult because we didn’t have the full team at the end.”

Viviani, who won the omnium gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August, was the first man to start his sprint at the end of Friday’s 115-kilometer stage. Cavendish stayed on his wheel and made his winning move at the right moment to claim the win and the red leader’s jersey.

“Mark got me onto Sky before the last corner, which was perfect because I was able to come around Elia Viviani to get the win,” Cavendish added.

Cavendish finished third in Thursday’s opening stage.

The four-day race continues Saturday with the 150km stage 3.