Sam Bennett makes it two-from-two with strong finishing kick –

Sam Bennett makes it two-from-two with strong finishing kick –

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Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) powered his way to his second stage win at the UAE Tour on Friday, with Elia Viviani (Cofidis) and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) filling out the podium.

“It’s amazing,” Bennett said afterward. “But again, I wouldn’t have done it without my teammates today.”

The Irishman took a convincing victory on the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai having seen master leadout man Michael Mørkøv position him perfectly for the win. Mørkøv has proven instrumental in Bennett’s success at the team having guided him to the green jersey of the Tour de France last year and navigated him to the win on stage 4 this week.

“I think the more sprints we do together the better we get,” Bennett said. “It’s becoming more second nature and it’s just about repeating the same thing and making decisions in the final and getting to know each other and the team. And we’re pretty much nailing it at the minute.”

The Dubai sprint saw Mørkøv sparking off the action in the final kilometer as the Dane brought Bennett into position at the front of the chaotic pack. David Dekker (Jumbo-Visma) marked Bennett with Viviani sheltering behind him.

When Bennett kicked from behind Mørkøv, there was no stopping him as he blew Dekker off his wheel and held a powerful acceleration all the way to the line. Vivani came up late and put in a strong spurt of speed to come around Dekker to take second-place.

Ackermann finished third after sprinting from fifth wheel and being forced to take a long route to get an eye on the line.

Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Emirates) finished safely in the bunch to maintain his 45-second GC lead over Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers).

Tense final

The tricky finale to the stage saw GC and sprint teams ramping up the pace in a fight for position ahead of the final sprint.

Ineos Grenadiers lead the bunch through a long tunnel at seven kilometers to go before Deceuninck-Quick-Step elbowed to the front with Bora-Hansgrohe and Qhubeka Assos also fighting for position.

Filippo Ganna led the bunch through a sketchy U-Turn bend at three kilometers before the sprint teams took charge to set up the bunch kick.

Six riders form doomed breakaway

The race had followed the predictable formula of a day for the sprinters.

The escape group formed after just 10km with Tony Gallopin (Ag2r-Citroën), Alexey Lutsenko, Luis León Sánchez (both Astana-Premier Tech), Matthieu Ladagnous, Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ), Iñigo Elosegui (Movistar) going away. The sextet enjoyed nearly four minutes through the opening half of the race, but as the route turned into a strong headwind in the final hours of racing, the peloton easily pulled them back on the huge highways heading into Dubai.

With around 25km to go and the peloton on their shoulder, the escapees pulled the plug and fell back into the bunch.

Dmitriy Gruzdev (Astana-Premier Tech) attacked off the front of the reformed peloton shortly afterward, but the Kazhaki rider only managed to pull around 10 seconds over the bunch before slotting back into the group inside the final 15km to go.

Theat of echelons fails to materialize

With a strong wind blowing off the sea, a number of teams piled to the front with around 75km to go as a change in course direction brought on crosswinds. The injection of pace from Jumbo-Visma, Deceuninck-Quick-Step and EF Education-Nippo briefly saw 30 riders caught out and distanced, though no major splits or echelons formed, and the race was all back together around 20km later.

Final stage Saturday

The race wraps up with another pan-flat sprint stage Saturday. Provided Pogačar avoids disaster, he’s now nailed-on to take his first UAE Tour GC victory when he crosses the line on the Abu Dhabi breakwater.


UAE Tour Stage 6 Results

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