Dubai: Tadej Pogacar, the Tour de France champion of Team UAE Emirates, made an early-season statement when he sprinted away from an elite group on Wednesday to win the fourth stage of the UAE Tour at Jebel Jais and claim the overall lead.
The captain of UAE Team Emirates imposed himself on the uphill finish of Jebel Jais (climb of 18.8 km at 5.7% average gradient), a finish where last year he was second to Jonas Vingegaard.
After narrowing down the group, the Slovenian, with a sprint in view of the finish line, outmanoeuvred Adam Yates (Ineos-Grenadiers) and Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-hansgrohe) inside the final kilometre. The win takes Pogacar to first place in the general classification and in the best possible position to defend his UAE Tour title.
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UAE Team Emirates, which also has João Almeida in sixth place in the overall ranking (+28 “), now takes their sixth stage win of the season.
Pogacar said: “I always like to win, having succeeded makes this day beautiful for me and for the team. As a team we rode well, also trying to move with João and Rafal: the latter was the strongest climber of the group today.
‘‘João and Rafal were also excellent in the final in launching me towards the sprint, the victory pays off all the work done in the past months, it’s great to start the season like this,’’ he said.
‘‘Despite all the attacks that followed one another uphill, I saw that practically all the big names of the race remained in the leading group, so I checked that we reached the final with the compact group, since I knew it would not be possible to go solo I decided to wait for the sprint.
‘‘Already in training, even after recovering from Covid-19, the sensations were very good but in the race everything can be different; the period of the illness was not so heavy for me thankfully . I had the support of the team, they helped me and gave me peace of mind: also for this reason, today’s result is the result of an overall work of the whole team. Having a team like this gives you goosebumps “.
For the fifth stage, the peloton heads to Ras al Khaimah and will finish on Al Marjan Island stage (182 km). One for the sprinters, watch out for UAE Team Emirates fast-man Pascal Ackermann who looks keen to add to his Stage 2 podium. The race ends on Saturday with another stage that finishes with a potentially decisive climb.
Results & standings
1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 4h 49’24 “
2. Adam Yates (Ineos-Grenadiers) s.t.
3. Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-hansgrohe) s.t.
1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 14h02’34 “
2. Filippo Ganna (Ineos-Grenadiers) +2 ”
3. Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-hansgrohe) +13 ”
6. João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) +28 “