photo credits @ Abu Dhabi Tour
Alejandro Valverde won the 5th and final stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour today, after the Spanish rider went head-to-head with Astana’s Miguel Angel Lopez on the summit of Jebel Hafeet, after the duo broke clear during the final four kilometers.
As a result, Valverde also clinched the overall race victory, finishing 17 seconds ahead of Team Sunweb’s Wilco Kelderman.
Meanwhile, overnight leader Rohan Dennis struggled along the day’s summit finish, conceding almost two minutes to Valverde.
A small breakaway group containing Lawson Craddock (EF Education First-Drapac), Mathias Brandle (TrekSegafredo), Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), Rudy Barbier (AG2R La Mondiale), Fredrik Frison (Lotto-Soudal), Michael Bresciani (Bardiani CSF), Nicolo Bonifazio (Trek-Segafredo), Nikolay Trusov (Gazprom-Rusvelo) and Joonas Henttala (Novo Nordisk) succeded in riding clear of the peloton early on in today’s 199 kilometer stage that began in Qasr Al Muwaiji.
From there, the escapee’s remained out front for most of the stage, with Craddock and Greipel being the last riders to be reined in by the peloton during the final 8 kilometers.
Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe) decided to try his chances during the last 7 kilometers, but the Italian rider was quickly joined by Valverde.
Meanwhile, the pace back in the peloton proved to be too much for Dennis, who found himself off the back as Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) linked up with Formolo and Valverde – followed by Lopez.
It wasn’t long before the quartet was joined by Kelderman and Rafal Majka, while Fabio Aru and Tom Dumoulin failed to make the junction, with the latter of the two suffering yet another mechanical malfunction.
Formolo, Kelderman, Lopez, Valverde, Majka, Alaphilippe and Niklas Eg continued to join forces at the front, but with four kilometers to go, Lopez attacked.
Valverde quickly marked Lopez’s move, and despite a series of counter-attacks, the two leaders succeeded in remaining clear of the chase, with Valverde triumphing over his Colombian rival.
1. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, in 4-38-47
2. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana, at same time
3. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors, at 15 secs
4. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb, all at same time
6. Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 37 secs
7. Niklas Eg (Den) Trek-Segafredo, at 47 secs
8. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, at 55 secs
9. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates
10. Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, all at same time
1. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, in 16-00-01
2. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb, at 17 secs
3. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana, at 29 secs
4. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors, at 31 secs
5. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 45 secs
6. Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 1-13
7. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, at 1-18
8. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates, at 1-28
9. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing, at 1-29
10. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, at same time
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