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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, February 27, 2021

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UAE Tour stage six reports

We posted the report from stage winner Sam Bennett's Deceuninck-Quick Step team with the results.

Here's the report from GC leader Tadej Pogacar's UAE Team Emirates:

It was another top 5 result for UAE Team Emirates at the UAE Tour, with Fernando Gaviria taking 5th in the sprint that concluded the 6th stage in the unique setting of Palm Jumeirah (with start in Deira Island, 165 km).

The win went to Irishman Sam Bennet (Deceuninck-Quick Step) from Elia Viviani (Cofidis) and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe).

In view of the sprint, the Colombian from UAE Team Emirates, supported by his teammates, moved up the group on the long final straight, but was forced to open his sprint too early, fading before the line.

The UAE Tour also welcomed a very special guest to the race, with the Ruler of Dubai , H.H Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, following behind the riders during the stage.

There is now only one stage left at the end of the UAE Tour, 147 km flat around Abu Dhabi: starting from Yas Mall and arriving at Abu Dhabi Breakwater. Tadej Pogačar will face the last leg in his fight to claim the red jersey as the leader of the general classification (+35sec on Adam Yates, Team Ineos-Grenadiers) and of the white jersey of best youngster.

Tadej Pogacar

Tadej Pogacar with his UAE Team Emirates escort. Bettini photo

Tadej Pogačar: “We are one day closer to the end of the race. I am very happy with how the team faced today’s stage: the wind was a challenge but we stayed as a group and moved well. Tomorrow a similar stage will await us, if it’s windy it could be a really hard stage but with the group I have around me I’m confident”.

Third-place Pascal Ackermann's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this report:

After the GC at this year’s UAE Tour was decided yesterday, today’s stage was another chance for the sprinters in the peloton. The 165 flat kilometers took the riders from Deira Island to Palm Jumeirah and a 6-men break went up the road early. But the bunch was always well in control of the situation and with 30 km to go the break was caught.

Even another solo attack was launched, on the last 10 km all was set for a bunch sprint. BORA – hansgrohe was at the front in full strength when a last tricky wind situation occurred and Martin Laas and Michael Schwarzmann support Pascal Ackermann on the last kilometer. But Pascal found himself boxed in on the final 200 m and had to launch his sprint late. He came close on the last meters but couldn’t overtake the stage winner Bennett.

Sprint finish

Sam Bennett (left) has this one. Bettini photo

From the Finish Line:
"The last 3 km on the coast had been really hectic. We knew that we had to be up there, and that worked out well. At the end we hit the front again a little early, therefore I decided to drop back a little. Unfortunately, I got boxed in then and also lost my speed. I had to wait long and accelerate again. The speed was there, but it wasn’t enough. I am sure we can make it tomorrow if we get the timing right." – Pascal Ackermann

"Everything went well until the final kilometer and the boys did a good job. At the very end we still struggle to get the timing right. It is very difficult in these hectic situations to hit the front at the right time, but today Pascal had the speed, and this might did cost us the win. Tomorrow we’ll have the last chance and of course we’ll give it our all to hopefully get a win under our belt." – Enrico Poitschke, Sports Director

Here's the update from 4th-place David Dekker's Jumbo-Visma team:

After two second places, David Dekker has finished fourth in the sixth stage of the UAE Tour. As a result, the Dutchman took over the green points jersey from Tadej Pogacar with one more stage to go. Chris Harper remained fourth in the overall standings.

The stage was coloured by a leading group of six riders who got caught in the final. The wind had split the peloton into echelons, but that did not last long. Dekker was well-positioned right behind stage winner Sam Bennett for the bunch sprint, but was unable to respond to the Irishman’s acceleration.

David Dekker

David Dekker in the green points leader jersey. Jumbo-Visma photo

“It’s a day with mixed feelings”, Dekker said. “I was well-positioned for the sprint, but my legs just weren’t good enough to be able to do better. We were also a bit far in the last kilometres, so it cost a lot of energy to get into the right position. I am happy that I managed to reclaim the green points jersey. That’s a nice bonus. I will do everything I can tomorrow to bring this jersey to the Netherlands in my first race as a professional for Team Jumbo-Visma. That is certainly a goal.”

Cees Bols' Team DSM posted this:

The penultimate day of racing saw the peloton take on a predominantly flat course, starting on Deira Island and finishing on Palm Jumeirah. It was a quiet start to the stage with a six rider breakaway forming not long into the day, with the peloton keeping them close. Heading towards the second half of the stage things got more nervous in the bunch with some exposed sections of road and crosswinds looming. Unfortunately, Florian Stork was involved in a crash through a a residential area and abandoned the race.

Floran Stark

Florian Stork in a stock Team DSM photo

There were some small splits on the exposed sections, with the team riding well to the fore, but it was nothing major and as the road turned more into a headwind, it all regrouped again, with the breakaway soon caught. The team worked well to position sprinter Cees Bol for the finale, bringing him into a good position as the race charged under the one kilometre to go banner. Bol gave it a good effort, but wasn’t able to produce his trademark powerful kick, settling for ninth place across the line.

“Today went a bit better than the other sprint stage,” explained Bol at the finish. “We showed some nice teamwork in the echelons which was good. We need to work on our timing a bit more in these high speed sprints and it’s a bit disappointing not to be closer to the front but we’re getting better and we still have one more chance to go for it tomorrow.”

Team DSM coach Luke Roberts added: “Today’s stage was in and around the city of Dubai. It was a relatively relaxed start, with six riders going in a breakaway. With some open sections and quite strong wind in the second half of the stage, the bunch became quite nervous. Unfortunately going through a residential area there was a narrow section of road and Florian had a fall there and had to abandon the race. The bunch was quite nervous from that point on because of the wind, actually splitting in two at one point. It was mostly a headwind from then though so it all came back together for the bunch sprint. We tried to set Cees up for the sprint and it went quite well. The guys put in some good work there, showed good teamwork, stayed together and followed the plan to set up Cees going into that last kilometre. It all went okay but Cees was just missing a little bit of that final punch to go for a real top result but we took a solid ninth place and have another opportunity tomorrow.”

** Update on Florian Stork: After a crash in the early stages of stage six, Team DSM’s Florian Stork was forced to abandon the race. As a result of the crash he has sustained a fractured knee cap and broken ribs which will take some time to heal. He will now focus completely on a steady recovery before we look to a return to racing.

Groupama-FDJ posted this race report:

Groupama-FDJ proved aggressive on stage 6 of the UAE Tour on Friday. Joining the day’s breakaway, Matthieu Ladagnous and Attila Valter tried to prevent the sprinters’ teams from succeeding. However, after 140 kilometers in the lead, the duo got caught and Sam Bennett netted another win. Caught in a crash in the first part of the race, Anthony Roux was forced to abandon but did not suffer any fractures.

Breakaway

As is often the case, the break was caught close to the end. Groupama-FDJ photo

The 2021 UAE Tour draws to a close. Two bunch sprints are anticipated in the last two days, and on Friday, 165 flat kilometers were to be covered towards Palm Jumeirah, in Dubai. However, Groupama-FDJ did not intend to remain quiet within the peloton. “Since we had no one to protect for the GC and we had nothing to gain in the sprint, we had free rein today,” said Matthieu Ladagnous. “I was the first to attack and I didn’t expect that I’d be followed by so many guys”. In the lead, the Frenchman reunited with his teammate Attila Valter, as well as Alexey Lutsenko, Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Tony Gallopin (AG2R-Citröen) and Inigo Elosegui (Movistar). “It was a good thing to have two guys in front, it was a good way to work,” Jussi added. “However, they got only four minutes at best. It was a solid group, with good engines. They went quite hard in the lead and the peloton quickly realized that they shouldn’t be given too much time. Otherwise, the break could go a long way. The peloton did not want to play and the gap therefore remained rather small”.

The gap of the leading group then hugely decreased when the Deceuninck-Quick Step tried to split the race apart in the crosswinds. “The peloton got a little excited after 100 kilometers,” said Jussi. “It even split in two groups, but all the main favourites for the sprint and for the GC were in front. So it didn’t do that much damage and it all came together. The only real consequence is that it reduced the gap with the breakaway”. “We lost about two minute”, Matthieu noted. “They came back very close, and it got a lot more difficult from then on. We still rode well, we did not hang around, and it was a pretty difficult day. We knew it was going to be complicated, especially with the headwind in the final, but we tried to do our best”. The six leaders eventually got caught shortly before entering the final twenty kilometers. “It’s a good day,” added Matthieu. “It’s the kind of day that allows you to work well for the rest of the season. We’re lucky as the weather is nice here, and it’s great to ride under the bright sun. It’s a good preparation race. The whole team is feeling well, which bodes well for the future!”

Like Wednesday, Sam Bennett won the bunch sprint while Tadej Pogacar retained his leader’s jersey. However, one rider from the team did not finish the stage. After a crash earlier in the race, Anthony Roux was unable to continue. “It’s a stupid crash,” said Jussi Veikkanen. “After 60 kilometers, we went from a very, very wide road to a narrower one. A traffic island caused the crash and Anthony was caught in it. He got back on his bike, but we followed him for a while and saw that he couldn’t hold the handlebars. He was in pain. We decided to make him stop, then he got into the ambulance to undergo some tests.” Fortunately, the X-rays carried out this afternoon by the former French champion at the hospital did not reveal any fractures. On Saturday, the UAE Tour will end with another sprinters stage.

Here's the short Team Movistar post:

The Movistar Team wanted to offer their fans and general manager Eusebio Unzué -who turned 66 on Friday- a good performance on stage six, the penultimate day, of the 2021 UAE Tour, held over 168km between Dubai and the luxury complex of Palm Jumeirah.

The youngest member of the Telefónica-backed squad on Emirati soil, Iñigo Elosegui, got himself into a strong, early move with Lutsenko, Sánchez (APT), Valter, Ladagnous (GFC) and Gallopin (ACT), a move which was caught with about 20km from the end after some crosswinds attempts, created by Bora-hansgrohe, ostensibly reduced their margin.

Inogo Elosegui

Iñigo Elosegui leading the break. Bettini photo

It was a nice performance, in yet another learning, WorldTour event, for the Basque allrounder, which gives hope to a Blue outfit whose participation in the Middle East race will end on Saturday, with another sprint finish -Sam Bennett (DQT) took his second victory today-, this time in Abu Dhabi (147km).

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