Dubai: UAE Team Emirates rider Adam Yates won the final stage of the UAE Tour at Jebel Hafeet while Remco Evenepoel of Soudal-QuickStep, who finished second, sealed overall victory.
Yates began his attack in the 166km stage 7 with 6km to go with Evenepoel and Sepp Kuss of Jumbo-Visma close behind.
Evenepoel then overtook Yates while Kuss fell behind the pair only for the world champion to fall short with 3km remaining. The Belgian rider did well after initially falling 15 seconds behind, but even after a spirited performance he could not keep up with Yates’ acceleration and had to settle for second on the stage, 10 seconds down on the Briton.
Geoffrey Bouchard of AG2R-Citroën took third with Kuss finishing fourth. Pello Bilbao of Bahrain Victorious and Luke Plapp of Ineos came fifth and sixth respectively. Plapp sealed second overall while Bilbao was bumped off the podium by Yates thanks to his time bonus for the stage victory.
“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.”
1 – Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates), 170km in 3h29’42”, average speed 43.776km/h
2 – Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) at 10″
3 – Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroen Team) at 42″
PROVISIONAL GENERAL CLASSIFICATION
1 – Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step)
2 – Lucas Plapp (Ineos Grenaders) at 59″
3 – Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) at 1’00”
Red Jersey, General Classification. Sponsor: International Holding Company
– Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step)
Green Jersey, Points Classification. Sponsor: BeIT – Tim Merlier (Soudal Quick-Step)
White Jersey, Young Rider Classification. Sponsor: Nakheel – Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step)
Black Jersey, Intermediate Sprint Classification. Sponsor: Experience Abu Dhabi – Edward Planckaert (Alpecin-Deceuninck)