Mezgec mixes it with the fast-men on the final stage of the UAE TourSat 2 Mar 2019
The final stage of the UAE Tour came down to a bunch sprint as expected, with the quick-men taking their chance on the streets of Dubai.
Slovenian Luka Mezgec was delivered to fore inside the closing kilometres and was able to mix it with the pure sprinters to come away with eighth in the final run for the line.
With 145km of flat roads around the city of Dubai on the menu, the final stage in the Middle East was designed with a sprint finish in mind.
A breakaway was soon established inside the opening 20km and despite the threat of crosswinds early in the day, the peloton relaxed the tempo and let the three escapees open up a maximum gap of five minutes.
That gap began to shrink with 50km to go as the sprinters teams controlled the pace at the head of the pack, making sure the day ended in the predicted sprint finale in Dubai city centre.
The catch was eventually made with three kilometres left to race as the the sprint trains began to mass at the front of the bunch in anticipation of the sprint. Mitchelton-SCOTT surged to the front of the pack looking after Mezgec and kept the Slovenian towards the head of the pack going into the penultimate turn.
Mezgec was glued to the wheel of stage three winner Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) as the fast men launched their kick for the line, but the 30-year-old was boxed in and had to settle for eighth as Sam Bennett (BORA - hansgrohe) took the victory.
"The boys did a great today, they did just like what we spoke about before the race."
"The goal was to bring me to the front on the second to last corner and from then on I find a good wheel. It turned out that that wheel was Caleb."
"In the sprint itself there was big headwind and I was waiting for Caleb to launch his sprint, but that was my mistake because he waited too long and then other sprinters came from behind."
UAE Tour – Stage 7 Results:
1. Sam Bennett (BORA - hansgrohe) 3:17:51
2. Fernando Gaviria (UAE - Team Emirates) ST
3. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) ST
8. Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.