Keukeleire makes the break and moves up to third overall in Abu DhabiFri 21 Oct 2016
Belgian Jens Keukeleire animated the breakaway for the second day in succession on stage two of the Abu Dhabi Tour today, extending his lead in the sprint points competition and moving up to third on the general classification.
Keukeleire, a 2016 Vuelta a Espana stage winner, was part of the six man move that went clear early on in the stage before being cruelly caught only 900metres from the line.
Mark Cavendish (Dimension-Data) took the stage win and moved into the race lead with Magnus Cort finishing tenth for ORICA-BikeExchange as Keukeleire moved up to third overall ahead of tomorrow’s stage three.
Sport director Laurenzo Lapage was pleased with the performance of the team, especially the tireless efforts of Keukeleire.
“Jens (Keukeleire) is really flying at the moment and it was another close one today,” said Lapage. “We wanted to get into the break to try and get ahead in the intermediate points category and Jens did another fantastic job, he has a good chance of holding onto the jersey until the end of the race now.”
“For sure it can be frustrating to be caught so close to the line, the group worked well together today and when there are a few different teams represented in the attack it always makes it harder for the chasers to bring them back.
“Tomorrow is a tough stage, we did the climb last year and it is challenging. Carlos Verona is in good shape and highly motivated to do well, he had a good result here in 2015 and we hope we can put him in a good position to have a chance to challenge on the climb tomorrow.”
How it happened:
A short and sweet stage two got underway in downtown Abu Dhabi and headed out for a 115kilometre parcours towards the marina.
Belgian Jens Keukeleire again infiltrated he breakaway for ORICA-BikeExchange and set about defending his black points jersey with five companions to contend with.
After 60kilometres of racing the six leaders had two minutes 30seconds with Keukeleire claiming the first set of intermediate sprint points to extend his lead in that category.
Approaching the final 40kilometres and the gap had fallen to one minute 20seconds with Dimension-Data and Giant-Alpecin controlling the front of the peloton.
However with 20kilometres to go the six leaders had become five and managed to stretch their lead back out towards two minutes and continued to work well together, much to the frustration of the chasing peloton.
Keukeleire spurred his companions on as the bunch intensified the chase into the last 10kilometres.
Agonisingly the quintet were caught less than 900metres from the line as a reduced bunch broke clear to contest the sprint, Cavendish claimed the win with Cort in tenth and Keukeleire up to third on the general classification.
Tomorrow’s third and penultimate stage is a medium mountain stage and covers 150kilometres from Al Ain to Jebel Hafeet.
Abu Dhabi Tour stage two results:
1. Mark Cavendish (Dimension-Data) 02:32:21
2. Elia Viviani (Team-Sky) ST
3. Andrea Guardini (Astana) ST
10. Magnus Cort (ORICA-BikeExchange) ST
General classification after stage two:
1. Mark Cavendish (Dimension-Data) 05:48:06
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) 00:00:04
3. Jens Keukeleire (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:00:05