UAE Tour Stage 4 Preview
Updated: Feb 27
Adam Yates took a dominant win in Jebel Hafeet, with a first attack with 6Km to go taking Lutsenko and Gaudu, and later with 5Km to go going solo. He arrived at the finish with a 1:03 gap over Lutsenko and is the new leader, Lutsenko finished third alongside Gaudu and Majka 1:30 back.
Positive: Yates put on a massive ride and is in great position to win the race. With these legs he is sure to climb with the best on round 2, but the crosswinds may be his biggest challenge. Majka with a strong ride, Pozzovivo and De Bod of NTT with thumbs up aswell.
Negative: Valverde, to be honest it was expected but still a blow to Movistar, unless his form is low this is worrying for the team. Zakarin failed the expectations that looked to be high with CCC pacing a lot of the climb. Ciccone and Poels with sub-par performances, James Knox and Emanuel Buchmann weren't even close to being in the picture.
Stage 4 is flat flat flat, more of the same. But this one won't be ridden in the desert, wind won't play such factor, will all be on the roads of Dubai, the finish isn't technical aswell with the exception of a corner that really seems to have no business there.
As for the finish, not technical, until a nasty turn with () meters to go. A little ridiculous finish in my opinion, but it will make the sprint more interesting at least for sure, as long as everyone stays safe.
Right on the day the peloton won't be going through the desert, but there are quite a lot of open and exposed roads on route so damage will surely happen. Winds coming from the west at over 15Kph with gusts of over 35 at points, this is enough to cause mayhem in the peloton and everyone will be in the top of their game. Positioning and opportunity will be crucial, and it can change the whole looks of the race.
With this scenario splits can occur at some points of the stage more specifically. Km 15-25, Km 50-55, Km 80-110 is THE most dangerous though, very long straightforward road, and then Km 135-140. From there on there will be a strong headwind to the finish. But whilst they are riding with tail and crosswinds it will be a crazy race, and GC is definetely to be played here. But let's talk about the stage.
Of the sprinter teams who can afford to give their fast man their full attention? UAE for Gaviria can't as 3 riders are in the Top11 and Pogacar will need support, FDJ for Démare will be looking out for flyweight climber Gaudu but they have a team of powerhouses so they can make it work, maybe even attack. Ackermann will have to accept Bora have still 2 riders in GC contention and only has 2 powerful riders to support everyone... On the other side, Groenewegen has van Emden and Martin to guide him, Ewan doesn't have a brilliant team, he shouldn't be completely confortable with the scenario, Sam Bennett despite not having the classics men here has good support aswell.
Lots of different team setups then, and what about the secondary sprinters?
Mezgec naturally will have some focus in Yates, Dainese, Mareczko and Walscheid all have Top10 contenders in the team although the latter has a strong and powerful team, shouldn't make much of a difference but they will have to do a lot of work and be ready not to be dependent on the team. A rider who can surprise is Rick Zabel who's been riding well, with Rudy Barbier in the team and some powerful riders who know how to ride crosswinds there can be a pleasant surprise from the Israeli team tomorrow.
⭐ Walscheid, Zabel, Mareczko
I'm going with Dylan Groenewegen. He's a crosswind specialist at this point and the team should be fully focused in him. His issue is normally the leadout but with a likely short group to the line and/or a headwind run-up, his little positioning issue won't be such an issue.
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