The final stage of this year’s Abu Dhabi Tour is a 143km criterium style affair, comprising 26 laps of the Yas Marina F1 race circuit. Silky smooth tarmac and sweeping turns look to be ideal conditions for another bunch kick to draw this year’s race to a close and likely crown Tanel Kangert 2016’s champion. The final few turns could cause problems for a few of the sprinters as the finishing straight does not come until 250m from the line; positioning will be crucial to have any chance of winning here.
Mark Cavendish took the win on Stage 2 and shall be favourite to do so again on the final stage as a result of André Greipel’s withdrawal ahead of the start on Stage 3. Dimension-Data have already demonstrated their ability to navigate Cavendish into position despite their smaller squad size and are certain to be the wheel to follow heading into the final metres.
Giacomo Nizzolo took advantage of his late season form when winning Stage 1, catching several of the bigger name sprinters napping by latching onto the Dimension-Data leadout to slingshot himself to victory. This finale should suit him even more, the late final turn making it a contest of positioning and acceleration instead of pure speed like we saw on the opening two stages.
John Degenkolb bailed out of the sprint on Stage 2 due to some risky moves from other riders heading into the last turn and will be hoping he can makes his time here worthwhile with a win on the final stage. His leadout is one of the strongest here, but has not necessarily shown enough when it matters most to truly hammer home this fact.
Elia Viviani was left disappointed by Cavendish’s win on Stage 2, having already stated that he shall be out for revenge on the final day to reverse his fortunes. The Italian has an explosive acceleration and his race craft honed on the track means his positional abilities to hit the front at the key moment are always a threat to rivals.
Others who could all challenge for a podium place are Andrea Guardini, Magnus Cort Nielsen, Christopher Latham and Steele Von Hoff.
1st Giacomo Nizzolo 2nd Mark Cavendish 3rd Elia Viviani