Yates consolidates race lead with third place on stage five of the UAE tourThu 27 Feb 2020
Race leader Adam Yates consolidated his position at the top of the general classification with a battling third place on stage five of the UAE Tour.
The Brit went close to repeating his stage three victory on the same Jebel Hafeet climb, but the 27-year-old was forced to settle for third after being boxed-in in a three-up sprint for victory.
There was a bigger fight than usual to get into the day’s breakaway with the feeling that the peloton may allow a group to stay away. Eventually five riders broke free and quickly opened up an advantage of over six minutes as the bunch eased up.
The day looked set for another routine stage leading into the Jebel Hafeet climb, but some teams had different ideas. A change in direction with around 90 kilometres to go sparked the peloton into panic as numerous teams attempted to split the field as the wind began to blow.
Mitchelton-SCOTT and Yates reacted quickly to the danger, with the Brit pulling through on the front before the pace slowed down and calm was restored. Despite further brief attempts to split the pack from some teams, nothing stuck, with attentions instead turning to the climb.
Cat and Mouse
The break reached the foot of Jebel Hafeet with a gap of two-minutes back to the Mitchelton-SCOTT led peloton and it was then a waiting game amongst the favourites, with everyone anticipating the first attack as the gap to the break started to fall.
Second place overall Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) was the first to make a move with Yates jumping onto the Slovenians wheel instantly. The duo then exchanged a flurry of attacks as the group of favourites swept past the remains of the breakaway.
Yates made a bid for his second win of the week inside the final kilometre, but he was joined once again by Pogacar. The pair then slowed, allowing the chasers to catch them with 500 metres to go, resulting in a three-way sprint for the line with Yates getting boxed out behind Pogacar and Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team).
“It pretty much went according to plan. I would have loved to win but in the end it is what it is. With the time gaps from stage three I knew I only had to follow the key guys and if I got into trouble then I could limit my loses, but in the end the legs were good and now we still have the leaders jersey heading into the last two stages. All in all, a good day.
“Straight from the start we followed the plan and let a small group go up the road and controlled it from there. It got a little nervous with the wind but the guys looked after me to perfection and delivered me into the bottom of the climb in great position so I could do my thing in the final.”
UAE Tour Stage 5:
1. Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates) 3:48:53
2. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team) ST
3. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
UAE Tour General Classification:
1. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 20:36:04
2. Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates) +1:01
3. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team) +1:33
Photos courtesy of Getty Images.