photo credits @ WTFK
Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) claimed the final stage of the UAE Tour today, triumphing atop the summit finish of Jebel Hafeet, after the British rider distanced his rivals midway up the climb to seize a solo victory.
Meanwhile, Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) was able to seal the overall victory, despite the Belgian rider being dropped by Yates during the last 3 kilometers, finishing in 10-seconds down on the Briton, with Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroën) making a late charge to take third on the stage at 42 seconds back.
In the meantime, Luke Plapp (Ineos) managed to limit his losses to take second overall, 59 seconds behind Evenepoel, while Yates’ late onslaught – and the stage winner’s time bonus – help to lift him above Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) and onto the third step of the podium.
“The tactic was to go full gas at the bottom. We had nothing to lose. I was so far down on the GC after the crosswind stage, we just had to go all out from the bottom and see what happened,” Yates said. “The guys did an amazing job. I attacked quite early but I knew I had to push really hard to drop the guys. And finally I managed to do it.”
Having marked his first win as world champion, Evenepoel will feel confident with the Giro d’Italia next in May. “It’s the first race I came to try to do a good GC,” he said. “I haven’t gone to altitude yet, I’ll go in a few days, so I can only improve. But I can be really happy and proud with the shape I have now.”
Today’s pan-flat stage until the final climb up Jebel Hafeet, was animated by a breakaway attempt initiated by Jaakko Hänninen (AG2R Citroën), Maurice Ballerstedt (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Ignatas Konovalovas (Groupama-FDJ), Michel Hessmann (Jumbo-Visma) and Sam Welsford (DSM), but the peloton was keen to keep quintet on a short leash.
Indeed, as the escapees reached the base of the final climb, their advantage had been receded to 2:26, with Hessmann and Konovalovas being the last survivors as Soudal-QuickStep ramped up the pace on behalf of Evenepoel.
Shortly thereafter, UAE Team Emirates took up the pace setting, with Bjerg taking up the reins with 8 kilometers to go, followed by Soler and McNulty.
The American rider’s pace not only succeeded in reeling in the two leaders, but also whittled the front group down to a dozen or so riders, before he swung-off the front with 6 kilometers to go, allowing Yates to commence his winning move.
Evenepoel and Kuss followed, while Bilbao and Plapp scrambled behind.
A kilometer or so later, Evenepoel’s pace-making proved too much for Kuss, though the American still managed the climb smartly to take fourth place on the stage, 47 seconds down.
Back up front, while Yates and Evenepoel were busy fighting for the overall title, Plapp and Bilbao were locked in a battle for the podium places behind.
The pair would reach the summit together, 54 seconds down on Yates, enough for Plapp to secure second overall, but Bilbao had to settle for fourth overall, 1:03 down on Evenepoel.
You must be logged in to post a comment.