• Rúben Silva

UAE Tour Stage 5 Preview

Although the wind was blowing today ended up a calm day overall with almost no-one wanting to move out of the peloton early on. There was a lot of tension at points but echelons didn't happen. In the final kilometers several leadouts took over, Mitchelton again had the best leadout but it was a fight between the big 5, and Dylan Groenewegen was the fastest of them all, beating Gaviria and Bennett.

Positive: Mitchelton and Groves coming in as best of the rest, they're doing it right.

Negative: Démare far from the top spots again.

The Route

Stage 5 will go back to Jebel Hafeet. Yes that's right, back to Jebel Hafeet, remember? Well yeah so it would seem some last-minute changes left the race with two equal stages that have an equal profile pretty much. The riders will know exactly what to expect, as for us we can only think of what can be changed this time around.

*see stage 3 preview

I mean, yeah, see stage 3 preview, same text same lines. Hard climb, possible sprint finish, ignore the 20% grade it's a GPS bug, etc

The Weather

There's moderate wind from the Northwest all day long. With so many riding around Al Ain it'll vary a lot, but for show's sake it's going to be a very big day in crosswinds yes. Today it didn't happen as the roads were covered and no-one took the risk, but tomorrow it can happen, but of course someone has to initiate it. As for the final climb there will be a lot of tailwind, you may be seeing the climb record being beaten again! The heat won't be felt as yesterday luckily.

The Favourites

Despite a lot of favourable wind I wouldn't consider a breakaway a threat. Stalls in the peloton due to positioning may slow it down a lot, but the fight for positioning will be very intense and there is the chance of attacks in the desert.

In the case they do there are some riders who could benefit from it. By this I mean GC contenders that are more powerful riders and could benefit from the power being layed down in the desert. I mean from that of course Alexey Lutsenko for a start as a pure power rider, started as a classics specialist but is at this point a puncheur/climber very strong in his own right, he is by far the heaviest of the riders fighting for the podium and has Gorka Izagirre who should also like it. Tadej Pogacar could really benefit from it too being a strong overall rider, he was strong but was beaten tomorrow, Formolo and Ulissi sadly can't play a tactical part really in what is such a simple stage, but could make for attack preparations for a small fraction of the stage. Cofidis and Jesús Herrada who were active today can also play an interesting role, as does Wilco Kelderman.

The others don't have any particular advantage in the flat roads, and as lightweight climbers it could contrariate the likes of the leader himself Adam Yates, David Gaudu and Eddie Dunbar, all of which are lightweight climbers who can find themselves in serious trouble if the crosswind action starts and they're out of position.

Attention, that by this I do not mean these riders are at disadvantage, I mean that their weight differences can be impactful in the pre-climb section of the stage which can prove vital. The decisive section is obviously the climb, but seeing that it's literally the same climb we know everyone's level pretty much. I'd like to point out that without the extreme heat some gaps may be shortened, I foresee that Adam Yates tomorrow may not be as dominant, and the tailwind in the climb will help the less explosive climbers. There are more climbers like Bora duo Rafal Majka and Patrick Konrad who will be looking for something, and CCC may try for a different approach for tomorrow that can be worth something. I'd like to believe the heat cause some issues in the other stage, riders like Zakarin, Valverde, Ciccone, Poels for example can come up with a stronger performance but of course this line of thought isn't a very likely one.

Prediction Time

A.Yates, Pogacar

Lutsenko, Gaudu

Majka, Konrad, Kelderman, Herrada

My call for the win tomorrow is Alexey Lutsenko. Adam Yates won't have the punch he had yesterday, also won't be agressive so he won't really be playing his cards, and Pogacar well he's probably the main favourite I guess but I won't call him to win twice. The weather plays into the role of the Kazakh, so let's see how he can play it out.

Make sure to let me in on your opinion, and of course follow me on twitter for the latest updates!