Phinney retains Dubai Tour lead

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iol spt feb7 Taylor Phinney AFP Taylor Phinney retained the lead of the Dubai Tour, holding a lead of 33 seconds over Marcel Kittel of Germany. Photo by: KARIM SAHIB/AFP

Hatta, United Arab Emirates – Marcel Kittel of Germany won his second successive stage of the inaugural Dubai Tour only in the last 20 metres of an uphill finish in the Hajjar Mountains on Friday.

By taking the second and third stages, Kittel improved to seventh, 33 seconds behind overall leader Taylor Phinney of the United States.

Phinney had a 15-second lead over BMC Racing teammate Stephen Cummings of Britain with one stage left.

Phinney, Rui Costa, Peter Sagan, and Tony Martin all led in the last kilometer, and Giant-Shimano's Kittel was left without his train, but he had another final sprint in him to edge second-place Juan Jose Lobato of Spain, and third-place Sagan of Slovakia.

The last 10 kilometers of the 162-kilometer stage from Dubai to Hatta were a climb at an 11 percent gradient.

“It was really hard,” Kittel said. “I had enough power to pass the climbs but if there was one more kilometer, then I would have been dropped.”

The last stage on Saturday covers 123 kilometres on the streets of Dubai, finishing at the Burj Khalifa. – Sapa-AP

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