Tadej Pogacar seals overall victory at UAE Tour after Caleb Ewan wins final stage

John MacLeary
·8-min read
Tadej Pogacar — Tadej Pogacar seals overall victory at UAE Tour after Sam Bennett wins final stage - GETTY IMAGES
Tadej Pogacar — Tadej Pogacar seals overall victory at UAE Tour after Sam Bennett wins final stage - GETTY IMAGES

Saturday February 27 — Yas Mall to Abu Dhabi Breakwater, 147km

Tadej Pogacar secured overall victory at the UAE Tour on Saturday after completing the seven-day race 35sec faster than Adam Yates, while Joao Almeida finished a further 27sec down in third on general classification.

Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) led the race since stage two after Mathieu van der Poel was forced to abandon as a result of a member of his team returning a positive test for coronavirus, and the Slovenian never looked likely to lose his leader's red jersey winning the first mountain-top finish of the race ahead of Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) and second in the other.

Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), meanwhile, took the first win of the season on Saturday after the Australian sprinter timed his move to perfection to beat Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick Step) to the line, with Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious) taking third. David Dekker (Jumbo-Visma) sealed the points classification having impressed with two runners-up spots.

UAE Tour — selected final general classification
UAE Tour — selected final general classification
Stage six: Bennett wins again as Pogacar is penalised

Friday February 26 — Deira Island to Palm Jumeirah, 168km

Action from stage six at the UAE Tour — Sam Bennett wins again at UAE Tour as leader Tadej Pogacar is handed 10sec time deduction - GETTY IMAGES
Action from stage six at the UAE Tour — Sam Bennett wins again at UAE Tour as leader Tadej Pogacar is handed 10sec time deduction - GETTY IMAGES

Sam Bennett took his second win in three days at the UAE Tour after he outsprinted Elia Viviani and Pascal Ackermann to the line at the end of the 168-kilometre sixth and penultimate stage in Palm Jumeirah.

Benefiting from some excellent work from lead-out man Michael Morkov (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Bennett was able to sit in the wheels waiting until 150 metres before poking his nose into the wind when the Irishman proved too strong for Viviani (Cofidis) and Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Despite finishing safely in the bunch alongside Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) and Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick Step), race leader Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) lost 10 seconds on general classification after UCI commissaires ruled that team-mate Jan Polanc had given him a push. Pogacar, however, appears poised to win the opening WorldTour race of the season on Saturday, the Slovenian taking a 35sec lead over Briton Yates, while the Portuguese Almeida is another 27sec down.

Chris Froome (Israel Start-up Nation) lost a further 2min 27sec and dropped one place to 41st. The Briton trails Pogacar by 18min 55sec.

UAE Tour — selected standings after stage six
UAE Tour — selected standings after stage six
Stage five: Vingegaard takes win as Pogacar extends lead

Thursday February 25 — Fujairah Marine Club to Jebel Jais, 170km

Jonas Vingegaard — Jonas Vingegaard wins stage five at UAE Tour as Tadej Pogacar extends overall lead - GETTY IMAGES
Jonas Vingegaard — Jonas Vingegaard wins stage five at UAE Tour as Tadej Pogacar extends overall lead - GETTY IMAGES

Jonas Vingegaard took only the second win of his career on Thursday when he caught breakaway rider Alexey Lutsenko just 250 metres from the line before he rolled over the line punching the air in celebration.

Lutsenko (Astana-Premier Tech) was the last man standing from a nine-man breakaway and though he looked strong, with UAE Team Emirates and Ineos Grenadiers looming the Kazakh national champion always looked doomed. While race leader Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) and Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) watched each other, Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) took advantage and slipped away to take the stage.

For the second time in three days, Pogacar got the better of Yates on a summit finish and outsprinted the Briton to take second place along with a 6sec time bonus, while the Ineos Grenadiers debutant was third and picked up a 3sec bonus. Pogacar increased his overall lead on Yates to 45sec and will, barring disaster, secure the UAE Tour when the race concludes on Sunday following two more stages that favour the sprinters.

It was another disappointing day for Chris Froome who was dropped 3.7km from the line, though the Briton was able to give the television cameras a brief smile and wave as they passed by. After working for his Israel Start-up Nation team-mate Ben Hermans, who finished the stage in ninth place and is fourth on general classification, Froome lost 1min 39sec to Pogacar and trails the Slovenian by 16min 38sec with two days to go.

UAE Tour — selected standings after stage five
UAE Tour — selected standings after stage five
Stage four: Bennett takes victory after outmuscling rivals

Wednesday February 24 — Al Marjan Island to Al Marjan Island, 204km

Action from stage four at the UAE Tour — Sam Bennett sprints to UAE Tour stage victory as Tadej Pogacar retains lead - GETTY IMAGES
Action from stage four at the UAE Tour — Sam Bennett sprints to UAE Tour stage victory as Tadej Pogacar retains lead - GETTY IMAGES

Sam Bennett took his first win of the season on Wednesday when the Irishman outsprinted David Dekker and Caleb Ewan in a frenetic finale to the 204-kilometre fourth stage at the UAE Tour.

After a two-man breakaway featuring François Bidard (Ag2r-Citroën) and Olivier Le Gac (Groupama-FDJ) was reined in around 30km to the line the peloton appeared relaxed as it swept along the wide roads on Al Marjan Island. However, after Israel Start-up Nation put two riders on the front, along with their veteran sprinter André Greipel, the bunch started to fray.

Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) was the first big-name sprinter to show his cards, but the German faded before Bennett was delivered to the line by Deceuninck-Quick Step team-mate Michael Morkov. Dekker (Jumbo-Visma) again impressed following his runners-up spot in stage one, while Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) had to settle for third after team-mate Thomas De Gendt had worked tirelessly on the front throughout the day.

Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) finished safely in the bunch and will take a 43sec lead into Thursday's fifth stage, with Briton Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) in second place while the young Portuguese Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick Step) will start in third. Chris Froome (Israel Start-up Nation), meanwhile, moved up one place on the general classification to 43rd, but remains 14min 53sec adrift Slovenia's Pogacar.

UAE Tour — selected standings after stage four
UAE Tour — selected standings after stage four
Stage three: Pogacar pounces to extend his overall lead

Tuesday February 23 — Strata Manufactoring to Jebel Hafeet, 166km

Action from stage three at the UAE Tour — Tadej Pogacar jumps Adam Yates on Jebel Hafeet to extend his lead at the UAE Tour - GETTY IMAGES
Action from stage three at the UAE Tour — Tadej Pogacar jumps Adam Yates on Jebel Hafeet to extend his lead at the UAE Tour - GETTY IMAGES

Tadej Pogacar extended his lead at the UAE Tour on Tuesday after the reigning Tour de France champion pounced to beat Adam Yates and win stage three on the first of two summit finishes in the seven-day race.

After a two-man breakaway featuring Tony Gallopin (Ag2r-Citroën) and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) had been consumed by the peloton on the approach to the Jebel Hafeet climb, Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) sat patiently before making his move around 5km from the summit.

Marked by Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) and Pogacer (UAE Team Emirates), the Briton led the way though was unable to shake off Pogacar who sat on his wheel until around 500 metres out before jumping the Ineos Grenadiers debutant. Yates's runner-up spot propelled him to second on general classification, 43sec behind Pogacar, while Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick Step) dropped down to third just over a minute down.

In scenes reminiscent to last year's race when he was returning from a career-threatening injury, Chris Froome (Israel Start-up Nation) rode towards the rear of main bunch on the only significant climb of the day. Although he climbed 44 places on general classification, the Briton lost 5min to Pogacar who he now trails by almost a quarter of an hour.

UAE Tour — selected standings after stage three
UAE Tour — selected standings after stage three
Stage two: Ganna wins again after Van der Poel abandons

Monday February 22 — Al Hudayriat Island, 13km (time trial)

Filippo Ganna — UAE Tour 2020: Filippo Ganna wins again after Mathieu van der Poel abandons - GETTY IMAGES
Filippo Ganna — UAE Tour 2020: Filippo Ganna wins again after Mathieu van der Poel abandons - GETTY IMAGES

Filippo Ganna's blistering start to the season continued on stage two at the UAE Tour as the world time trial champion took his third win of 2021 following his two victories at Etoile de Bessèges earlier in the month.

Ganna's (Ineos Grendiers) win on the panflat course in the desert — finishing 14sec ahead of Stefan Bissegger (EF Education-Nippo) and 21sec faster than Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates) — came just hours after overnight leader Mathieu van der Poel was forced to abandon after a staff member of his Alpecin-Fenix team had tested positive for coronavirus.

Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) became the new race leader after finishing fourth on the day, the Slovenian taking a 5sec lead into the third stage ahead of Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick Step) with Chris Harper (Jumbo-Visma) in third at 33sec. Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) moved up to fifth on general classification though lost 34sec to Pogacar while Chris Froome (Israel Start-up Nation) dropped three places in the overall standings and lost 1min 12sec on the new race leader.

UAE Tour — selected standings after stage two
UAE Tour — selected standings after stage two
Stage one: Van der Poel blows away rivals to take early lead

Sunday February 21 — Al Yash to Al Mirfa, 177km

Action from stage one at the UAE Tour - GETTY IMAGES
Action from stage one at the UAE Tour - GETTY IMAGES

Mathieu van der Poel powered into an early lead at the UAE Tour after the Dutchman won a sprint finish at the end of an opening stag that was blown apart by vicious crosswinds. The Alpecin-Fenix rider beat compatriot David Dekker (Jumbo-Visma) with relative ease, while Deceuninck-Quick Step leadout man Michael Morkov took third.

Although he also beat Elia Viviani (Cofidis), who was competing in his first race since undergoing a heart operation, Van der Poel went largely untested after a number of the top sprinters — Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) — were caught out by the crosswinds. It was not only the sprinters that were hampered by the echelons that formed in the flat and fast stage. Chris Froome, making his debut for Israel Start-up Nation, finished over eight minutes down on Van der Poel while Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Victorious) and Ivan Sosa (Ineos Grenadiers) also paid the price for missing the early split.

Adam Yates, the defending champion who was making his Ineos Grenadiers debut, made it into the lead bunch before the Briton finally finished alongside Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick Step), just 3sec behind pre-race favourite Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates).

UAE Tour — selected standings after stage one
UAE Tour — selected standings after stage one