Former world champion Mark Cavendish took the overall lead at the Dubai Tour after winning Wednesday’s opening stage in a sprint finish.

The Briton held off Italians Andrea Guardini and Elia Viviani following the 145km run from the Dubai International Marine Club to Union House Flag.

Cavendish, world champion in 2011, launched his sprint finish a touch too early after his sprint train, with Australian Mark Renshaw as last lead-out man, broke up in the final run in.

As he approached the line, Cavendish was being quickly caught by Astana’s Guardini but a photo finish confirmed the Etixx-Quick Step rider had won.

The Dubai tour finishes in front of the Burj Khalifa on Saturday at the end of the fourth and final stage.

Each stage starts from the Dubai International Marine Club. – Agence France-Presse

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