It’s not like Dubai is the big time.
This fabricated event dropped into the desert is mostly about hot weather and a sheik’s riches. He wants a badminton tournament, ice skating championship or bike race, he calls one of his finance ministers and shazamm.
As a bike race, Dubai lacks history, scenery, roadside fans, prestige — you name it. While the city of Dubai is dazzling at night, the highways out of town are straight and dull and devoid of attraction.
All that to say that Boy Racer Mark Cavendish doesn’t need to win a sprint in the Tour of Dubai. It ain’t much of a palmare. However the man is hyper-competitive and losing twice already to Marcel Kittel must chap his ass.
After Kittel won four stages in last years’s Tour de France — the Manxman won just two — the Brit decided to rededicate himself to getting back his title as fastest mofo on two wheels. He hit the gym, he hit the track and then he hit the jackpot. That was getting his former lead-out man Mark Renshaw back.
Like a rock ‘n’ roller, he was putting the band back together at Omega Pharma-Quick Step. He has a star-studded cast to drop him just short of the finish line in Dubai. There’s Renshaw, Alessandro Petacchi and World Time Trial champion Tony Martin and that should be more than a match for Kittel’s well-drilled Giant-Shimano crew.
Except that hasn’t happened just yet.
Team manager Patrick Lefevere thinks his boys just need some time to work out the kinks. In Dubai, Lefevere thought they might even be too hyped up. “This is the first sprint that these guys have done together and I think they got a little bit excited in the finale because they were already leading the peloton with 11km to go,” Lefevere told Cyclingnews.
There’s one stage left in the Tour of Dubai. If Kittel wins a third sprint, look for some colorful language from Cavendish. But it’s not helmet throwing time just yet.
This is, after all, just Dubai.