The fifth stage of the UAE Tour presented another day for a showdown between sprinters, with a 181 kilometre route between Sharjah and Khor Fakkan to contest after yesterday’s punchy uphill sprint at Hatta Dam.
Things were relatively relaxed in the peloton with crosswinds and sand not doing as much damage as in the previous stages. The day’s breakaway were kept within reach throughout the stage’s entirety, with their advantage stretching not much above three minutes.
Cees Bol said of the day: “Today was a pretty slow stage and was well controlled. As a team we were attentive on the indicated points on the course and managed to navigate our way through the tricky parts unscathed.”
After a last ditch attempt to stay clear, the final breakaway rider was caught by the peloton with 30 kilometres to go, and compact, the bunch continued to cruise along heading towards the finale.
Cees continued: “With eight kilometres to go we agreed to be in the front and were well positioned. On the first roundabouts we managed to stay together but on the last, I lost Max and Nikias. I found them again when the sprint started which wasn’t ideal, so me and Max just squeezed into the top 10. It’s not the result we came for so we are of course pretty disappointed.”
With Cees finishing 9th and Max Walscheid rounding out the top 10, the team can now look ahead to the upcoming GC days and final sprint chance on the last day.
Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek said: “It was a chaotic sprint and with the lead out not going as planned, we didn’t get the result that we wanted. The team were really dedicated to the plan as always today, protecting the GC and sprint guys as planned. Now our full focus is on tomorrow’s GC day and then to Max’s sprint chance on the last day.”