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MARK CAVENDISH IS STAGE 2 WINNER AND ABU DHABI TOUR RACE LEADER

Official Race Ambassador wins spectacular and safe stage in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, 21 October 2016 – 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 mannernews.com. The race highlighted the iconic monuments of the United Arab Emirates.


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Stage 2 Results

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STAGE RESULT

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.

JERSEYS

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)

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION
1 - Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data)
2 - Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) at 4"
3 - Jens Keukeleire (Orica - BikeExchange) at 5"



QUOTES

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 omega replica watches 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."

TOMORROW'S STAGE: Stage 3 – STRATA STAGE / AL AIN – JEBEL HAFEET (150KM)
The third stage comprises both urban surroundings and mountains. The first part, inside Al Ain city, is all on wide roads with roundabouts and speed humps and is followed by a second part in the desert along wide and predominantly straight roads. At 15km to go, the route starts to rise slightly towards the final ascent, culminating in an uphill finish at an altitude of 1025m, following an 11km climb with slopes with an 11% gradient.
 
Last km
The final climb is on wide-ranging bends on a three-lane roadway. The gradient is mostly around 8-9% with a peak of 11% at 3km to go. There are short descents in the last kilometres before the final ramp with a straight finish on asphalt.



 
POINTS OF INTEREST

AL AIN - 150km to go
Al Ain is one of the world's oldest permanently inhabited settlements, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is the second largest in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the fourth largest city in the UAE. Al Ain is the birthplace of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the first president of the United Arab Emirates.
 
QASR AL MUWAIJI - 150km to go
The historic Qasr Al Muwaiji – birthplace of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE – is one of the UAE’s most significant historic buildings and is located in the centre of the Al Ain. Built in the early 20th century, this simple but striking building was originally used as a diwan (a council or seat of governance) and as a place for the community to congregate. A permanent exhibition, housed in an elegant glass-walled space within the courtyard of Qasr al Muwaiji, tells the story of the fort and its inhabitants.
 
AL JAHILI FORT - 145km to go
The picturesque Al Jahili Fort is one of the UAE’s most historic buildings. It was erected in 1891 to defend the city and protect precious palm groves. The former headquarters of the Oman Trucial Scouts, the force that protected the mountain passes and kept inter-tribal peace, it also served as a residence for the local governor. The fort has been carefully restored and now houses a permanent exhibition of the work of British adventurer Sir Wilfred Thesiger (whom the locals affectionately refer to as ‘Mubarak Bin London’) and his 1940s crossings of the Rub Al Khali (The Empty Quarter) desert.
 
AL AIN OASIS - 145km to go
Once an important and lush oasis on the caravan route from the Emirates to Oman, Al Ain (in English “the spring”) is the core of the Emirate’s historical heritage, one of the oldest settlements that has been always been inhabited and is part of the Unesco World Heritage. The Al Ain oasis features a series of irrigation canals (an irrigation system over 3,000 years old, the falaj) that provide water to the palm plantations. It stretches across about 1,200 hectares (approx. 3,000 acres) and has over 147,000 date palms of 100 different varieties. Entry is free.
 
AL HILI - 130km to go
Just 10km outside Al Ain (on the road to Dubai) the Hili Archaeological Gardens combine both a public garden and the archaeological site with remnants of a Bronze Age settlement (2,500-2,000 BC), which was excavated and restored in 1995. It is the source of some of the richest finds in the area, many of which are believed to be over 4,000 years old. Hili is near Fossil Valley, an area rich in a variety of fossils dating back many thousands of years to when it was covered by sea.
 
AL QATTARA SOUQ - 125km to go
Dating back to the mid-20th century and founded by the late Sheikh Shakhbut bin Sultan Al Nahyan on the palm-lined road linking Al Ain’s Al Qattara and Al Jimi oases, the historic Souq Al Qattara has been renovated and re-opened. A traditional handicrafts market takes place here every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from October to May, encouraging local families to preserve and promote Abu Dhabi’s heritage through an active involvement in traditional craft production. The Souq is linked to the redeveloped Al Qattara Fort, now home to a popular arts centre, featuring hundreds of modern exhibits, workshops, a cafe and a library.
 
SHEIKH HAZZA BIN ZAYED STADIUM - 120km to go
The home of Al Ain FC, this 25,000-seat stadium is one of Al Ain’s tallest buildings and a recognisable landmark. The outer façade design is inspired by a palm trunk, an integral part of the UAE's heritage and culture. The stadium is part of a wider project, constructed in phases, which will ultimately include residential, commercial and entertainment areas, as well as a luxury hotel and sports facilities.  
 
STRATA MANUFACTURING PJSC (STRATA) - 110km to go
Strata Manufacturing PJSC (STRATA) is a composite aero-structures manufacturing facility based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Established in 2009, with production beginning in 2010, Strata has partnerships with the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers, Airbus and Boeing. Strata is wholly owned by Mubadala Development Company PJSC (Mubadala), the Abu Dhabi-based investment and development company. Strata is committed to Abu Dhabi’s ambition to encourage all citizens to lead a healthier lifestyle.
 
GREEN MUBAZZARAH - 15km to go
Green Mubazzarah is a hot springs park at the foothills of Jebel Hafeet and was inaugurated in 2004. You find grass fields, rivers, artificial lakes, hot springs and chalets. It looks like a Swiss village not far from Geneva that made a lasting impression on the late Sheikh Zayed, the founder of the United Arab Emirates, during a vacation.
 
JEBEL HAFEET - Finish
Rising 1,240 metres, Jebel Hafeet is the emirate’s highest peak, and the UAE’s second. This towering rocky mountain, which stands guard over Al Ain and borders Oman, is forged out of craggy limestone that has been weathered over millions of years. Significant fossil discoveries have been made in the area, which are vital pieces in the jigsaw of the city’s ancient history. Over 500 ancient burial tombs dating back 5,000 years have been found in the Jebel Hafeet foothills. Once you reach the top, you'll be rewarded with magnificent views over Al Ain.


TV COVERAGE

The 2016 Abu Dhabi Tour is being shown in 177 countries, across all five continents; 13 TV networks are broadcasting the race, seven of them live.
Abu Dhabi Sports, host broadcaster of the event, is producing and showing the full coverage of each stage, from the first turn of the pedals to the finish line victories, in the United Arab Emirates and across the whole Middle East and North Africa region.
Eurosport is broadcasting the event live on its European and Asia Pacific channels, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. Live coverage is also available to cycling audiences in Italy (on the free-to-air channel Rai Sport 1), China (thanks to LETV), Japan (on the new platform DAZN), New Zealand (on Sky Sports network), Mexico and Central America (thanks to TDN).
Highlights of the race are being offered by ESPN all across South America and the Caribbean, by Fox Sports in Australia, by True Visions in Thailand and by FPT Telecom in Vietnam. Next month, highlights will also be available on Cycling TV.
The press agency SNTV is distributing the event news via its international circuits.

#RideToAbuDhabi

The Abu Dhabi Tour, organised by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council with the collaboration of RCS Sport, will take place from 20 to 23 October. 

Abu Dhabi Tour Media Kit

From the official online pressroom the media can download high resolution pictures of the 2015 race, the various press conferences, the opening ceremony and the final evening which was dedicated to the very first UCI Cycling Gala.

 

In order to download the pictures, just go to http://pressroom.rcssport.it/ (username: press / password: press), select “Scarica contenuti/Download contents” on the top right, choose “2015” or "2016" from the menu on the left, then “Ciclismo”, and then “Abu Dhabi Tour”. The photos are free of charge for editorial use, as long as both the Abu Dhabi Tour and the photographer’s name is quoted.  

 

SHIFT Active Media

Manolo Bertocchi

 RCS Sport Cycling Press Office
Ph.: (+44) 1225 448333
Ph. (+44) 7979 241227
E-mail: manolo@shiftactivemedia.com
Tw.: @Shiftactive @ItalianManolo

RCS Sport

Stefano Diciatteo
 
RCS Sport Press Office Coordinator
Ph.: (+39) 02 25848758
Mob.: (+39) 335 5468466
E-mail: Stefano.diciatteo@rcs.it
Tw.: @rcssport - @stedicia

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