Phinney Wins Dubai Tour 2014; Kittel Victorious in Final Stage
It was another strong team performance which delivered Kittel in a perfect position to take his third stage victory in the first edition of the race.
The stage panned out much like the previous two, with a small breakaway forming early on before being reeled back in the final fifteen kilometers.
Team Giant-Shimano's breakaway killer Cheng Ji did a lot of work on the front to pull the break back and then in the final few kilometers the lead out train took over and put Kittel into position.
"I'm super happy to win again but it was all down to my team, they did another great job here today," Kittel explained to Roadcycling.com after being celebrated on the podium in Burj-Khalifa.
"I lost the boys with just over two kilometers to go, but Tom Veelers did an amazing job to bring me back to the front and from there they put me in a perfect position.
"It's great to get the season off to such a good start. I had a really strong winter training with the team, profiting from the experts and coaches associated with our team and that has set me up in great shape. I knew that I was going well but to win three stages here is more than I expected. It's the best start ever to a season in my professional career."
General classification winner Phinney won the stage 1 individual time trial on Wednesday, added one second to his lead with third place finish in stage 2 and finished the race with a 15-second lead on teammate Steve Cummings and 17 seconds ahead of Denmark's Lasse Norman Hansen of Team Garmin-Sharp-POC, in third. The overall victory at a stage race is Phinney's first in four years as a professional. (Watch video highlights, USA-only).
Phinney explained his off-season preparation laid the groundwork for success. "Before this year, I haven't had a problem-free winter, injury or sickness-wise, ever," he said. "This was my first solid winter."
"I had a great time in the U.S. with my friends in Boulder, Colorado, and a really solid month of training in San Diego. I continuously had with my personal soigneur and personal massage therapist with me. I invested a lot into this year. I knew it was a very important year, so I'm super happy to be able to start the season this way."
Phinney, who is a past U.S. national time trial champion, also thanked his teammates. "Every day, I was relieved about having a great team around me," he said. "They gave me a lot of confidence."
Commenting on Kittel's stage victory Team Giant-Shimano sports director Rudi Kemna explained "We wanted to take control at the end to be at the front before the last corner. The lead out train came back together just as Tom brought Marcel back to the front and from there they did what they had to do and Marcel did a great sprint."
"I was especially impressed by yesterday's stage and Marcel showed that he has made a good step forward in his development. It was good to see how the team supported him when it was difficult, showing cohesion and confidence. It's been a great race for us."
Joining Phinney, Cummings and Velits on the winning team were Yannick Eijssen, Norwegian national road champion Thor Hushovd, Klaas Lodewyck, Sebastian Lander and Rick Zabel.
If you are located in the USA you can watch video highlights from the 2014 Dubai Tour in our videos section at http://www.roadcycling.com/videos .