Capital Stage of Abu Dhabi Tour sees Italian domination again

One hundred and eight riders from 18 teams took part in the Capital Stage of the four-stage tour, which saw spectators line sections of the 129km route that started at Yas Marina Circuit and finished at Yas Mall.

The peloton cruises past Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in the capital on Friday during the second stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour. The 129km stage was won by Italian Elia Viviani of Team Sky in a sprint finish at Yas Mall.  Claudio Peri / EPA
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ABU DHABI // Italian cyclist Elia Viviani took the overall leader’s red jersey from compatriot Andrea Guardini on day two of the inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour on Friday after finishing the stage in just over three hours.

One hundred and eight riders from 18 teams took part in the Capital Stage of the four-stage tour. Spectators thronged sections of the 129-kilometre route that started at Yas Marina Circuit and finished at Yas Mall.

The race passed some of the capital’s iconic landmarks, including the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Emirates Palace, the Corniche and Saadiyat Island.

The cyclists started at 2pm and finished at about 5pm.

Peter Sagan won the race’s white jersey, sponsored by The National, for the best young rider of the stage.

Cycling fan Almur Al Mansoori, 28, was out in the desert for the first stage of the tour on Thursday and was in the city to witness Friday’s competition.

He said the event was very well organised and “exciting and memorable”.

“I was surprised to hear they would be passing by Yas Mall. This is a great adventure and I am glad I could witness it – twice,” Mr Al Mansoori said.

But, he said, it was disappointed at the lack of video screens inside the mall to watch events unfold.

“We waited in the heat. It would have been nice to have live scenes on big screens,” he said.

Abhishek Karole, a cyclist himself, cycled across the designated route and waited for about an hour for the professionals to pass.

“It’s a good day. This never happens in the UAE and it is such a big event,” he said.

“I missed the California tour when I was in the United States, so I didn’t want to miss this.”

Road closures in the city for the tour did not cause any major traffic congestion.

aalkhoori@thenational.ae