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Race report

A close second for Tom Dumoulin in mountain-top sprint

UAE Tour

The sixth stage of the UAE Tour offered up one final chance for a GC shake-up, with the brand new summit finish of Jebel Jais awaiting the riders.

A crash almost from the flag drop meant it was a chaotic start to the day for our team with both Wilco Kelderman and Tom Dumoulin caught up in it.

Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek recalls: “It was a bad start to the day for us with Wilco and Tom both crashing. At one point Tom thought of quitting the race but after talking he decided to continue. As the stage went on he started to feel better so we committed fully to try to go for the stage win.”

With the gap to the breakaway still standing at over seven minutes with thirty kilometres remaining Nikias Arndt and Cees Bol went to the head of the peloton to help bring things back. Down to their strong work and collaboration with a few other teams the gap dropped to three minutes by the time Chad Haga started to pull at the foot slopes of Jebel Jais. The remnants of the break were caught in the closing three kilometres and the fight for the stage win came down to a mountain sprint between the GC riders, with both Wilco Kelderman and Tom Dumoulin there for us.

Dumoulin opened up his sprint early and it looked for a while as if he was going to take the stage win but unfortunately he was just passed by race leader Roglic in the closing twenty metres.

At the finish Dumoulin expressed a range of emotions: “I followed Martin’s wheel with two hundred metres to go and launched my sprint, going full gas to the finish. I had a chance to win today but Roglic was just too strong. It’s disappointing to come this close but after the crash at the start of the day I thought I might not continue; so it is good to see at least the form is there.”

With Dumoulin taking second on the day he moves up to sixth place on GC, just one place behind team-mate Kelderman who himself finished sixth this afternoon and sits fifth on the overall. The team’s attention will now turn to the final stage tomorrow and an opportunity for Max Walscheid to go for a good result in the sprint.