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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, October 22, 2016

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I think I have something tonight that's not quite correct for evening wear. Blue suede shoes. - Elvis Presley

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Abu Dhabi stage two team reports

Here's Team Sky's news:

Elia Viviani took a close second place on day two at the Abu Dhabi Tour as the stage came down to a thrilling sprint finish. The Italian opened up his sprint early after Team Sky had pushed hard to shut down the remainder of the day's motivated six-man break.

With the catch made with just 500 metres to go, Viviani launched his kick after the combined lead-out efforts of Danny van Poppel, Owain Doull and Andy Fenn.
Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) had positioned himself on the Team Sky rider's wheel and was able to edge out his rival at the line, elevating himself into the race lead in the process.

Mark CAvendish

Cavendish just beats Viviani

The peloton were forced to dig deep to haul back the move on the pan-flat 115-kilometre test, with Michal Kwiatkowski burying himself on the front to bring things back together.

The action continues tomorrow with the queen stage and a tough summit finish at Jebel Hafeet.

Team Astana had this to report about stage 2:

"I'm happy - says Andrea Guardini, 3rd at the finish line in Abu Dhabi - although there is a hint of regret. It was a sprint for me: short and explosive. I wanted to surprise the others anticipating the sprint - he continues - but I found myself facing a man Sky and I had to slow down. It has been fatal. "

The sprint was won by the British Mark Cavendish who also conquered the first position in the overall standings. Tomorrow, the "queen stage" of this Tour Abu Dhabi 2016 with the arrival at Jebel Hafeet, almost 11 km climb with a maximum gradient of 11%.

"If he feels good - commented sport director Paul Slongo - Vincenzo Nibali will try to win the stage, but also Tanel Kangert can play his cards."

Here's BMC's Abu Dhabi race update:

Stage 2 of the Abu Dhabi Tour, a flat and short stage of 115km, came down to an expected bunch sprint won by Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data) with Jempy Drucker crossing the line in fifth place.

A six-rider breakaway broke away soon after the peloton reached kilometer 0 but with only 115km of racing ahead, the peloton allowed the group to gain a maximum advantage of just two minutes. The peloton picked up the chase with 65km remaining but the breakaway forged on and with 10km to go they still had an advantage of more than one minute.

The sprinters’ teams put in a huge effort to chase back and finally made the catch with 400m to go in a nail-biting finish. Drucker was sitting in Cavendish’s wheel and was right up there in the battle for the win.

Stage 3 sees the race go into the mountains in what will surely decide the general classification before the final circuit stage on stage 4.

Jempy Drucker: "It was good. Once again the guys did a good job to bring me into a good position in the last kilometers. Then I went on my own and I made the good choices. I was in the perfect position but then they slowed down a little bit at 300-250m to go and I said ok I’m going to give it a go. I was in Cavendish’ wheel and he won so maybe it would have been better to stay in his wheel but if you don’t try you can’t win.”

“The finals here are pretty chaotic and there is where I always take some positive points out. I don’t really need a lead out train, I only need some guys to position me in the final kilometers and that works pretty well. We have one more chance for a sprint on stage 4.”

Lampre-Merida sent me this note:

A massive sprint at the end of the 2nd stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour, at the end of a long breakaway among whose protagonist there was Jan Polanc.

The Nation Tower Stage (115 km with start and arrival in Abu Dhabi) was led for most of the course by six attackers (Polanc, Keukeleire, Zhupa, Bazhkou, Smith and Williams) who generared some problems in the sprinters' teams. The cooperation in the leading group, in fact, was very good and the peloton succeeded in bridging the gap only at 500 meters to the arrival.

Diego Ulissi

Lampre-Merida rider Diego Ulissi heads to the start line for stage 2

Once that the bunch had been united, the the sprinters battled in a re-match of the epilogue of the first stage and the result was different: Cavendish preceded Viviani and Guardini, obtaining also the leader jersey. For Lmpare-Merida, Feng was 18th.

In the third stage, there will be space for the climbers, who'll fight on the summit arrival of Jebel Hafeet (1025 meters of altitude).

LottoNL-Jumbo to wear Shimano race clothing in 2017

The team sent me this press release:

LottoNL-Jumbo professional cycling team has announced that Shimano will be the official supplier of its team kit from 2017. The Netherlands-based team will wear a full range of elite performance cycle apparel from Shimano, including clothing and eyewear.

Riders will also be kitted out with footwear from Shimano’s S-PHYRE range, a new elite performance category that includes the feature-packed RC9 (road) carbon-soled racing shoe.

Richard Plugge, Managing Director of LottoNL-Jumbo said “This announcement is another proud moment in the successful history of LottoNL-Jumbo and Shimano. We are delighted to step up our relationship with one of the world’s biggest cycle companies, providing developmental guidance for Shimano apparel at the highest level.”

LottoNL-Jumbo riders will be instrumental in the progression of Shimano clothing with wind tunnel testing and bike fitting performance analysis part of the developmental plan. Team riders will be wearing and testing a complete range of custom summer and winter on-the- bike race clothing including arm warmers, leg warmers, winter buffs, socks and overshoes.

Richard Keeskamp, Shimano Europe Marketing Director: “This new agreement takes our long-term relationship with the team to a new level. By providing LottoNL-Jumbo with a full range of performance clothing and footwear we are able to extend our head-to-toe strategy, maximizing the performance of every component part of the bike and the rider. We look forward to working with LottoNL-Jumbo in the coming season to develop and progress the breadth and quality of Shimano cycle clothing.”

The team is no stranger to working with Shimano. Dura-Ace components adorn the team’s Bianchi frames and PRO wheels are used by the team in time trial stages, helping the team achieve victories in the stage races such as this year’s Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España, Eneco Tour, Tour of Britain and Tour de Yorkshire.

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