Dubai Tour (st. 1)
Italian specialist keeps the line after victory in San Luis, takes 7th at Dubai opener as main rival in Argentina -American Taylor Phinney (BMC)- succeeds
PICTURES | Dubai Tour gallery
It was the debut for some and a continuation of previous efforts for the others, yet the first stage of the 2014 Dubai Tour served for the whole Movistar Team as their first-ever outing in the Asia Tour. The telephone squad put two of their riders within the best twenty of the opening, flat ITT (10.1km) in the avenues next to the Burj Khalifa -the world’s tallest building: 828m above sea level- in the Emirati capital. Adriano Malori was again the Blues’ main reference on the road, his team-mates looking forward to him take on another chase for victory after joy still vivid from last month’s win in the Tour de San Luis time trial.
This time, the Parma-based rider claimed 7th place, just over half a minute behind Taylor Phinney (BMC), who dominated the course to seize the first leader jersey. “I got off to a very strong start, but suffered brutally on the section back to the finish”, conceeded Malori after his effort to Italian website TuttoBici. “Sincerely, I was thinking I could do a bit better – it’s likely that I’m suffering from bad weather after getting back from San Luis, with so many days when I couldn’t train properly. But actually, taking seventh is far from negliglible.“
Jonathan Castroviejo came home in 17th spot -44 seconds back- in his first day of racing in 2014; same went for Alejandro Valverde, who completed the course nine seconds slower than the Spanish champion. Stage two on Thursday will get the peloton back on road race clothing, with a short (122km), yet intense stage en route to the artificial island of Palm Jumeirah, the wind acting as main fear for all riders.