DUBAI — Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quick-Step) won the Dubai Tour after outsprinting his rivals to claim Saturday’s fourth and final stage.
John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) took the overall lead from the 29-year-old Isle of Man rider on Friday, leaving him four seconds down.
But Cavendish bounced back to seal the victory after beating Elia Viviani (Sky) and Juan Jose Lobato (Movistar) in the closing 128km stage for his second stage win of the week.
Before they could fight it out at the finish Etixx and Giant had to chase down a five-man break, which they overhauled 10km from the line.
“It was a tough breakaway, but Etixx-Quick-Step did a great job controlling it with the help of Giant-Alpecin,” said Cavendish, who collected a 10-second bonus to wind up six seconds clear of Degenkolb.
The Giant sprinter’s train got derailed in the finale and he finished ninth on the day, out of the bonus seconds but still holding onto second overall.
Lobato took third overall, 10 seconds adrift of Cavendish, who also collected the red points jersey.
“I didn’t really have to do much, the team did everything,” Cavendish said, calling his leadout “absolutely phenomenal.”
“It was so fast there was a gap before I started to sprint. I looked and I saw the gap, and I went a little bit early so I could keep the gap and it all worked out perfectly.”
Cavendish was delighted to take the third GC victory of his career.
“Here at Dubai Tour it’s not exactly a sprinter’s race, but it can favor people who can sprint,” he said. “I know for sure last year I wasn’t looking for the GC. This year I came here in good form. It wasn’t really something I was expecting, but with the way the guys have been working all week it was something special to finish off with the GC win.”
Giant’s road captain, Roy Curvers, said it was both a disappointment and an education to lose the leader’s jersey.
“When you have 10 sprint stages you have a few where it goes as planned, like yesterday,” he said. “There will be more stages where you have to improvise to get your sprinter into position to sprint at least, and then in one of 10 you get it wrong and come too late — that was today.
“We came here for a stage win and to introduce some new guys to the sprint formation and for these things we can be satisfied. We got a stage win, and learned and improved. But there’s a bitter feeling when you lose the leader’s jersey on the last day in a bunch sprint where we didn’t manage to get John in position to sprint. We will continue to learn from today and keep improving as we move on and evaluate our performance.”