Britain's Mark Cavendish, front, sprinted to victory on the second stage of the UAE Tour ©Getty Images

Mark Cavendish sprinted to victory on stage two of the UAE Tour, pipping the early holder of the red jersey Jasper Philipsen across the finish line.

This was the Briton's 158th stage win of his professional career, with the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team rider completing the 176 kilometres from Al Hudayriat Island to Abu Dhabi Breakwater in 4 hours 20min 45sec.

Cavendish and Belgium's Philipsen were engaged in a two-man sprint at the stage climax, with the Alpecin-Fenix cyclist forced to settle for second after winning yesterday's first stage.

Germany and UAE Team Emirates' Pascal Ackermann completed the podium just ahead of The Netherlands and Jumbo-Visma's Olav Kooij.

Cavendish congratulated his team-mates for their contribution to his victory.

"I knew we could win here," he said.

"A third of the team are first-year professionals so this is the first or second race in their career - they were super professional today.

"Their job was to get me to the final with me feeling as fresh as possible and they did it so well that I was able to launch with 300 to 350 metres to go into a headwind."

"I’m happy I could hold off Philipsen."

Philipsen retained the red jersey and his four-second lead over Dmitrii Strakhov of Russia and Gazprom-Rusvelo, who again won both intermediate sprints.

Cavendish leapfrogged Ireland's Sam Bennett into third in the general classification after the Bora-Hansgrohe rider could only place 17th.

Overall leader Philipsen paid tribute to the stage winner.

"It was a hectic sprint so it was hard to get a full lead out," he commented.

"I had to start from a bit too far out.

"I didn’t have the watts in the end.

"It's incredible what Mark Cavendish has achieved.

"At this moment I’m hoping he retires because I've already been second to him eight or nine times.

"It's still an honour to sprint against a legend like him."

Philipsen also leads the general points and young rider standings, with Strakhov top of the pile for the intermediate sprint.

Tomorrow's third stage is a 9km individual time trial in Ajman.