Abu Dhabi Tour concludes with Keukeleire victorious in the intermediate sprint classificationMon 24 Oct 2016
Belgian Jens Keukeleire came through the final stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour unscathed today to win the intermediate sprint classification for ORICA-BikeExchange.
Two-time Vuelta a Espana stage winner Magnus Cort sprinted to fourth place in the sprint with Australian Michael Matthews following close behind in seventh.
The stage was won by Mark Cavendish (Dimension-Data) with Tanel Kangert (Astana) taking the overall race victory and Keukeleire the best placed rider for ORICA-BikeExchange in 17th overall.
The four-day mini stage race covered a total of 555kilometres around the Abu Dhabi peninsula and saw Keukeliere claim the intermediate sprint jersey on the opening stage and hold it all the way to the races finale.
"It is really nice to come away with the jersey," said Keukeleire. "The team have a done great job everyday and it has been some tough racing here in Abu Dhabi, my form has been good and I felt strong so it's satisfying to end the season on a positive note."
Consistent performances from ORICA-BikeExchange included top ten finishes on stages one and two from a motivated team that included Mitch Docker, Cort, Matthews and Carlos Verona.
Sport director Laurenzo Lapage praised the moral and work ethic within the team after a long season.
“Our first goal for today was to support Jens (Keukeleire) and hold onto the black jersey and the team achieved that objective without any problems,” said Lapage. “The way Jens has been racing since the Vuelta and through the World Championships has been fantastic and it is great to see him get something for his efforts.”
“The whole team have shown great motivation and work ethic over the last four days and after a long and arduous season we can all be very happy with what we have achieved.
“We wanted to position Magnus (Cort) and Michael (Matthews) as best we could for the sprint and after a fast final stage the boys held firm at the front and Magnus was very close to the podium again.
“Magnus has shown great form in the second half of the season and as I said a couple of days ago he has reached a new level and is competing well against the fastest sprinters in the world, that’s great news for the future and for ORICA-BikeExchange.”
How it happened:
The final stage of the 2016 Abu Dhabi Tour consisted of 26 laps of the 5.5kilometre Yas Marina motor circuit with a breakaway of five riders going clear early on and gaining a one-minute advantage over the peloton.
The setting sun provided a spectacular backdrop for the race finale as the floodlights illuminated the second half of the closing stage with the five leaders stretching their lead past one and a half minutes after 60kilometres of racing.
Dimension-Data was the principal team in charge at the front of the peloton and with 25kilometres remaining started to bring back the leaders.
The race came back together inside the last four kilometres with Cavendish taking the victory in the sprint and Cort and Matthews both finishing in the top ten for ORICA-BikeExchange.
Abu Dhabi Tour stage four results:
1. Mark Cavendish (Dimension-Data) 03:07:44
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) ST
3. Elia Viviani (Team-Sky) ST
4. Magnus Cort (ORICA-BikeExchange) ST
Final general classification:
1. Tanel Kangert (Astana) 12:27:34
2. Nicholas Roche (Team-Sky) 00:00:21
3. Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) 00.00:43
17. Jens Keukeleire (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:03:07