Abu Dhabi Tour: Kittel lands Quick-Step Floors’ first World Tour win
An incredible sprint in the final meters of stage 2 propelled the powerful German to his fifth victory of the season.
One day after crashing and missing out on the opportunity to get in the mix on the opening stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour, Marcel Kittel showed why he's the most in-form sprinter of the bunch by taking a splendid win in Big Flag, where the 155km-long stage 2 concluded. It was Marcel's fifth victory of 2017, and Quick-Step Floors' 13th success in less than two months, one which cemented the team's position as the most winningest of the peloton.
Quick-Step Floors was again in the spotlight, setting the tempo behind the six men who booked a place in the early escape and bringing Marcel Kittel to the fore when it mattered, inside the last kilometers, once the break was nullified. The finale followed the pattern established on the previous stage and became a chaotic one, thus reducing the importance of lead-out trains. Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) looked on the verge of nabbing the win, but a fantastic Kittel came from nowhere and pipped the Australian on the line, just as he was preparing to celebrate the victory.
For both Marcel Kittel and Quick-Step Floors, this was the first World Tour victory of the season, one which came after a beautifully executed plan of the team and a very strong sprint of the 28-year-old German, who latched onto his opponent's wheel before bursting to the line and snatching his 14th career win in the Middle East. It was a sweet success which showed the determination and extra motivation Marcel had after Thursday's disappointment, when he couldn't sprint due to the crash that occurred in the final kilometer.
"Our plan was to leave it late today. It was a strange finale and I surfed from wheel to wheel, saving up some energy. I really believed in this victory until the very end and getting it the way I did makes things very nice, just as in Dubai, two weeks ago. On stage 1 I lost the chance to fight for the victory, but also some skin, so today I was keen on making the most out of this opportunity. Thanks to the guys for their help, they did a marvelous job! It feels great to notch a win also here, before my European debut next week, at Paris-Nice", a beaming Marcel Kittel said after his impressive sprint on the second stage of Abu Dhabi, which saw him edge out all his opponents and continue the strong run displayed since starting his season.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele