Marcel Kittel took the first stage of the UCI Dubai Tour, a 181-kilometre stretch won in the final sprint by the reigning champion.
The German saw off his closest rivals, Dylan Groenewegen and Mark Cavendish, in an irresistible burst of speed, but after the race Cavendish confessed he had been hit by a late puncture four kilometres from the line, and had to race on without changing the tyre.
On the day a breakaway group managed to hold off the pack until 10 kilometres from the line, while Nicola Boem cleaned up the intermediate sprint points. Thomas Stewart finished in the leading group to lay down an early marker.
Stage two is slightly longer, at 188 kilometres.
Absolutely right!! Second win in Dubai! Always nice to see the happy faces of the boys when they heard that we've won! 😊 Top! https://t.co/TfIVhvSJXU— Marcel Kittel (@marcelkittel) February 1, 2017