Ireland’s Sam Bennett on Friday won the penultimate stage six of cycling’s United Arab Emirates (UAE) Tour, confirming his early season form to claim his second victory at Dubai’s Jumeirah Road finish with ease.
After Thursday’s possibly decisive 20km uphill finish, overall race leader Tadej Pogacar was able to take it easy on the run around Dubai, leaving the glory to the sprint specialists, while he maintained his advantage finishing with the main pack.
Bennett beat Italian ace Elia Viviani into second and Team Bora-Hansgrohe rider Pascal Ackermann of Germany came third.
The smiley Irishman, who cried after his first Tour de France stage win last season, had the opportunity to bag a hat-trick of wins yesterday on the seventh and final stage, which also seemed perfect for his strengths.
The 30-year-old said that he would certainly go for it.
“We’re pretty much nailing it at the minute,” Bennett said. “I really want stage seven.”
Slovenia’s Pogacar goes into stage seven with a 45 second lead on last year’s champion Adam Yates, with Portuguese rookie Joao Almeida in third place at 1 minute, 12 seconds.
“That’s another day gone by,” the Team UAE leader Pogacar said. “It was quite hectic with the wind in the middle of the race, but we managed to stay all together. I hope tomorrow is a similar day.”
On Friday, the 130-strong peloton headed into strong winds, with temperatures hovering around 25°C for the 165km exploration of Dubai.
Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome failed to finish with the main pack and crossed the line 2 minutes, 27 seconds down on the day.
“I feel stronger every day,” Froome said on Thursday of his bid to get up to speed after coming to Dubai straight from rehab in California.
The 35-year-old insists that he was not there to win, but to start his preparations for the Tour de France in June.
In the UAE, he is 41st in the overall standings here, 19 minutes, 5 seconds behind Pogacar.
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