Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) said that he couldn't have done anything more in the sprint finish stage 5 of the UAE Tour. Bennett finished fourth after a blanket four-rider dive for the line, leaving him feeling frustrated.
It was a tough contest in Khor Fakkan with Bennett going up against Elia Viviani, Marcel Kittel and Fernando Gaviria in an all-out sprint. Bennett utilised the lead-out train of Gaviria, sticking to the Colombian's wheel until inside the final 100 metres.
"It will click. I'm just happy that I got to use my legs, I got the best out of myself today. I fought for the wheel that I wanted, and I got it. I did everything that I set out to do and I don't think that I could have done any more," said Bennett.
"It was close today, but I was a little bit in the wind before I had to start the sprint, with [Fabio] Sabatini on my right, and then when I did want to go I think that Gaviria's lead-out man was on the left. I was using a little bit too much energy and then I had to wait too long. I was coming in the end, but because I was waiting too long, guys came from behind with speed."
After finishing eighth on Monday’s stage to the Abu Dhabi breakwater, Bennett tried to change up his approach to the final sprint. Rather than trying to charge from the back, Bennett wanted to start from further up the peloton.
"It was a tricky one. I wanted to come from behind with speed on the first stage, but the wind didn't allow it and today I didn't want to get caught out, so I was in the right position, but you needed to come from behind with speed," Bennett explained.
With a long and wide road, the speed was higher, resulting in a slightly chaotic sprint with multiple teams trying to do their own lead-out.
"It's hard but it's about anticipating and knowing what the other riders are thinking before they go for the wheel that I'm on," he said. "It sounds aggressive, it is aggressive, but throwing my full body weight at them before they get their weight turned in, so they just bounce back out. It's a lot of blocking and defending the wheel. You need to watch what side they're coming from."
Though disappointed, Bennett remains confident that it will all come together very soon, and he will have another opportunity to do so on the final stage in two days’ time.
"You keep trying and eventually it will click," said Bennett. "I just have to keep trying. The legs are there, they're just so many fast guys, so many guys at a high level to get it right it's so hard. I was close today and I just have to keep trying. It’s there."