The police support who made the streets of Abu Dhabi safe for the 115km long Stage 2 enabled official race ambassador Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data) to claim his first ever victory on the Abu Dhabi Tour. He also moved into the lead of the overall classification after he outsprinted Elia Viviani (Team Sky) and Andrea Guardini (Astana Pro Team). The day’s six-man breakaway included Jens Keukeleire (Orica-BikeExchange) and Dion Smith (One Pro Cycling) who went up the road for the second straight day. They retained the black jersey of the Intermediate Sprints and the white jersey of Best Young Rider respectively after getting reeled in by the peloton with less than 1km to go. The race highlighted the iconic monuments of the United Arab Emirates.
1 - Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data) 115km in 2h32’21”, average speed 45.290km/h
2 - Elia Viviani (Team Sky) s.t.
3 - Andrea Guardini (Astana Pro Team) s.t.
- RED JERSEY, sponsored by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council (General Classification by time) – Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data)
- GREEN JERSEY, sponsored by Nation Towers (General Classification by points) – Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data)
- WHITE JERSEY, sponsored by Abu Dhabi Sports (Best Young Rider, born after 1 January 1991) – Dion Smith (One Pro Cycling)
- BLACK JERSEY, sponsored by Etihad (Intermediate Sprint Classification) – Jens Keukeleire (Orica - BikeExchange)
1 - Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data)
2 - Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) at 4"
3 - Jens Keukeleire (Orica - BikeExchange) at 5"
In the press conference, the winner and Red Jersey said: "I’m very happy to win here, being the ambassador of the race. I got caught yesterday, I wanted to come here and be successful. It’s very good to win. I was in a hard position at the end but to see Mark Renshaw come back and help me win was very enjoyable. The question about still being motivated so late in the season is also about how early the season starts. It’s difficult to get WorldTour points in January and stay on form until now. I usually peak for the Tour de France in July, but this year is different because the World Championships suited me and the Abu Dhabi Tour suits me as well."
After the finish line, White Jersey Dion Smith said: "I tried to increase the lead for the white jersey. The bonuses in the intermediate sprints really came first and I’m glad I gained three seconds on the way. So it was another good day for sure. But I had to keep sprinting really once we got caught in the last kilometer in order to avoid time gaps with the top sprinters. We just had enough of a lead. I kept going as fast as I could and hoped for the best. Tomorrow I’ll try to get in a breakaway again to target more time bonus before the hard finish. I’m not sure if I’ll be right up there but I’ll give it a crack."
Black Jersey Jens Keukeleire said: "When there is an opportunity, it would be a shame to not try and defend a jersey so I went into the breakaway again with the black jersey in mind and I won the two intermediate sprints I was targeting. It was another good day. I’ve also believed in the last ten kilometers that we would make it to the finish and thought that possibly I was the fastest man of the front group but everybody was at the limit in the last 25km. It’s really hard to make a breakaway survive till the end."