Kit­tel maps out his mas­ter plan for this week’s Dubai Tour.

Ger­man set for sprint tus­sle with Cavendish

The National - News - Sport - - FRONT PAGE - Ahmed Rizvi arizvi@then­ational.ae Go to then­ational.ae/sport for a list of the teams and rid­ers com­pet­ing in the Dubai Tour

DUBAI // Hav­ing got his sea­son off to the per­fect start here 12 months ago, Mar­cel Kit­tel has set his sights on an en­core as he bat­tles the likes of Mark Cavendish and Elia Vi­viani for early sea­son sprint­ing supremacy in the 2017 Dubai Tour.

Kit­tel, 28, won two of the four Dubai Tour stages in 2016 and beat Gi­a­como Niz­zolo of Trek-Segafredo team by four sec­onds for over­all vic­tory.

Buoyed by his suc­cess in Dubai, the Ger­man went on to clinch eight more vic­to­ries last sea­son and also helped his team, Quick-Step Floors, win the World Team Time Trial Cham­pi­onships ti­tle in Qatar.

“I am ea­ger to start this race, es­pe­cially as last year ev­ery­thing went per­fect here, and that gave me a lot of con­fi­dence for the rest of the sea­son,” Kit­tel was quoted as say­ing on the Quick-Step web­site.

“I come here af­ter a good train­ing block and can rely on a strong team, but the first race of the year is al­ways tricky, so we’ll just have to see how things pan out.

“Of course, we will give our best to notch up a stage win and kick off the year on the right foot.”

Cavendish, the 2015 Dubai Tour cham­pion, will also be look­ing to fol­low up on his suc­cess­ful first year with Team Di­men­sion Data. Last sea­son, the Briton won four stages of the Tour de France and also wore the yel­low jer­sey for a pe­riod.

He also added six other road vic­to­ries to his CV and the madi­son ti­tle, along­side Bradley Wig­gins, at the UCI Track World Cham­pi­onships in Lon­don.

Cavendish also won his first Olympic medal at the Rio Games, tak­ing sil­ver in the men’s om­nium, and fin­ished sec­ond be­hind Peter Sa­gan in the UCI Road World Cham­pi­onships.

“I could do as well as I did in 2016, why not,” Cavendish, the Abu Dhabi Tour am­bas­sador, told Gazzetta dello Sport in an in­ter­view last week. “But I won’t ride on the track.”

The Dubai Tour, which fea­tures five stages this year, is Cavendish’s first event of the year with the 2017 Abu Dhabi Tour next month next up on his sched­ule, a race he said last week that the cap­i­tal can ex­pect to see “the best group of sprint­ers you will see all year out­side the Tour de France”.

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