Tour of Abu Dhabi: Rosskopf Tests his Legs on Stage 2 Before Thrilling Finale22. February 2018, Abu Dhabi (UAE) — Road Team
Day two at the Abu Dhabi Tour saw Joey Rosskopf lead the way for BMC Racing Team, riding as part of the day’s breakaway before crosswinds split the field and threatened to upset the bunch sprint.
It was a battle to make the breakaway on stage 2 today with Rosskopf going clear as part of an early move that was pulled back after only 15km, of the 154km pan flat course. However, after a flurry of attacks, the American rider soon found himself back out in front as part of the day’s five-rider breakaway.
The advantage of Rosskopf and his fellow leaders rose steadily but, with the peloton looking to keep control and bring the race back together for another bunch sprint, the gap eventually settled at around four minutes with 100km of racing still to go.
With 65km to go, the gap between the breakaway and the rest of the field had been cut by over one minute before, less than 20km later, an intense chase saw Rosskopf, and his fellow escapees pulled back by the main bunch.
Almost immediately after the breakaway was caught, a fierce pace mixed with crosswinds saw the peloton split as a select group of around 30 riders, including Rohan Dennis, was drawn out at the front of the race and began pushing hard to hold onto a 30-second advantage going into the final 25km of the stage.
However, in the end, the wind wasn’t enough to upset the previously predicted bunch sprint, and the race eventually came back together for the final run into the line with Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) going on to take the win, and the leader's red jersey, ahead of Danny Van Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe).
Once again, all seven BMC Racing Team riders crossed the line safely ahead of stage 3 tomorrow which will be the final opportunity for the sprinters.
Quotes From the Finish Line
"At the beginning, there seemed to be some tactics at play between a couple of teams who were fighting over the intermediate sprint jersey. In the first breakaway attempt, I think there was someone in there who had got points yesterday, so Gazprom-RusVelo pulled that back. But, it wasn't too hard to go again because you could really choose if you wanted to go in the breakaway or not as everyone was pretty confident that it would be a bunch sprint."
"It is really nice to be active in the race. It was better for me to give it a go and be in the breakaway today than say tomorrow just before the time trial or any closer to the final stage when we will be fully backing Rohan and focussing on the final climb."
"The breakaway got caught right as we turned into the crosswind section more or less and as a couple of teams were trying to organize themselves to force the split. There were a lot of guys in full panic mode trying not to go into the gutter or into the sand, and there was a lot more action in the bunch than yesterday. It was pretty rough timing for us in the breakaway to come back right as the echelons were starting. But luckily, the guys behind were looking after Rohan and set him up close to the front right when that happened so he could be there in the first group."
"It was pretty stressful for most of the last 60 to 70km of the race. There were a lot of nerves, and the team did a great job to put me in a position to fight for the front group when it split. From there it was all about doing enough in the front group to keep it moving but also not being the person pushing the pace. Unfortunately, it came back in the final and the gap the front group had on a few of the main GC guys was lost, but it was also good to see that my legs are good enough to be right at the pointy end when it matters."
Abu Dhabi Tour
Stage 2: Yas Mail > Yas Beach, 154km
Top 3: 1. Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) 2. Danny Van Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo) 3. Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 20. Patrick Bevin 30. Brent Bookwalter 67. Rohan Dennis