• Rúben Silva

UAE Tour Stage 6 Preview

It was a different different day. On the second climb of Jebel Hafeet in this edition the scenes were completely different, firstly the wind caused a lot of tension but ultimately no echelons, but the heat had the peloton more homogenous in the final climb. UAE set the race for Pogacar who gave it is all in order to try and take the overall from Yates but it wasn't possible. In the end Pogacar won in a very tight finish over Alexey Lutsenko who had came back to them and Adam Yates who retained his lead.

Positive: Lutsenko did a perfect ride, had bad luck in those final meters, he probably thought he had it. Zakarin with a motivatingly strong climb, Valverde recovered from what was a hard day in the heat, De La Parte and Bouchard with nice results.

Negative: Patrick Konrad and Jesus Herrada with disapointing performances.

The Route

Flat. But this stage feels more like a traverse through the desert, around 90 Kilometers of it will be ridden in a straightforward road with nothing to see and then a long circuit in the also fairly straightforward roads of Al Mirfa. The sprinters will have another chance but it doesn't quite end here does it.

As for the finish it isn't very technical, a 180 degree turn inside the 2Km mark can make things hard though, but that final corner with 300 to go isn't as sharp as it looks, so should be a regular mass sprint.

The Weather

There is legitimately no excuse tomorrow. These 2 days had favourable conditions for echelons, they didn't happen. Tomorrow there's legitimately no excuse and some teams have to make their overall raid, the winds will come from Northwest with moderate intensity throughout the whole day which literally means a crossing through the desert in crosswinds. Well, I hope!

The Favourites

Well safe to say it won't be a stage for the breakaway. Crosswinds I'll dream for them again. GC riders will be kept safe as they would in theory have already faced their overall challenges, but they may face another one much more dramatic tomorrow so the teams must be prepared, that can leave some sprinters without the support they need, so well I will write very similarly to yesterday's stage, since my thoughts are essentially the same.

Of the sprinter teams who can afford to give their fast man their full attention? UAE for Gaviria can't be certain as Pogacar will need support for sure and Ulissi/Formolo are also there on the lookout, 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 as they tried today. Ackermann will have some support I assume but Majka and Konrad will also be proteted, not the best aproach but let's see how it can work... On the other side, Groenewegen has van Emden and Martin to guide him and no GC rider to take away the focus of the team, Ewan doesn't have a brilliant team, he shouldn't be completely confortable with the scenario but he is in the same situation where he can have the whole support of the team, as does Sam Bennett who is yet trying to net his first win in UAE, can tomorrow be his day finally?

Mitchelton have an interesting duo in Mezgec and Groves and they've nailed both leadouts so far in the flat finishes, but with Yates in the lead they will take a back sea through at least most of the day. Dainese and Mareczko have riders in the Top10 inside the team, they will be protected but always with some secondary focus Walscheid has a strong and powerful team that is fitting for the crosswinds but Pozzovivo the team's best placed GC rider should really struggle in case there are moves. And the Israel duo Rudy Barbier and Rick Zabel could make for another very interesting team seeing that several of their teammates are true powerhouses, they can definetely make it work as they both have the form, just need some luck and some smart positioning.

Prediction Time

Groenewegen, S.Bennett

Ewan, Ackermann, Gaviria, Barbier

Walscheid, Zabel, Mareczko, Groves, Dainese

Well and the same way I called for in the other stage I will repeat, Groenewegen is an expert on this kind of stages and his team has crosswind specialists that should be able to get him in every important move. Besides, he is to me the fastest man in the peloton at the moment, if he managed to win yesterday he can again tomorrow.

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