UAE Team Emirates put in another impressive team performance on stage six of the UAE Tour, with Dan Martin finishing 4th and Rui Costa finishing 9th behind the race winner and General Classification leader Primoz Roglic.
The penultimate stage of the week-long race featured a 180km route from the coast of Ajman into the mountains of Ras al Khaimah. The roads were flat and rolling until the final 20kms, when the peloton hit the base of Jebel Jais and embarked on 6% gradient climb to the finishing line, 1458m above sea level.
The race was ridden at a fast pace with a tail wind helping the group along. As the peloton began the climb, riders were shelled out the back with the tempo constantly creeping up.
With 2kms to go the remnants of the breakaway was reeled back in leaving an elite bunch of climbers to contest the finish. Dan Martin, Rui Costa and Diego Ulissi stayed in the middle of the 20-man bunch as the riders kept the pace high and waited to see who would attack first.
With 300m to go Martin lit up the finish, coming over the top of the bunch to start his uphill sprint. However his rivals were able to follow the attack forcing Martin into a respectable fourth place finish.
Martin now sits at 7th in the overall classification, just over a minute behind the red jersey.
Commenting on his performance, Martin said: “It was a really nervous day in the peloton and my guys did an amazing job of protecting me. The climb was really fast, not like a typical climb in Europe so we had to be very tactical.
“I feel that I slightly mistimed my sprint at the end and didn’t have the legs to go again. That said, I think I rode a better race today than on Jebel Hafeet so I am happy about that, even if I am just lacking a little bit of punch at the end.”
Saturday’s race will be the last of the seven stages at this year’s UAE Tour, finishing at City Walk in the heart of Dubai.
The stage begins at Dubai Safari Park before looping around some of the most iconic landmarks in the UAE.
The route is completely flat and relatively short at only 145km, which sets the race up for an action packed finish that will be hotly contested by UAE Team Emirates’ sprint sensation, Fernando Gaviria.
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