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Complete Live Report
Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage 5 of the UAE Tour.
As we join the racing, the riders have just under 100km left to race.
The ride east has been on the main highway, with the break again forming early.
The biggest obstacle so far in the stage has been the cross winds and sand storms, blowing sand onto the road.
The peloton has ridden carefully, with no attacks or echelons so far.
Jumbo-Visma has carefully controlled the break and they lead by just 2:00.
After the mountain finish at Jebel Hafeet and the sprint up to th edgr of Hatta Dam, today's stage to Khor Fakkan is expected to finish in a sprint along the east coast of the UAE.
The finish is expected to be a showdown between sprinters such as Elia Viviani, stage 1 winner Fernando Gaviria, stage 4 winner Caleb Ewan and Mark Cavendish.
Before we get to the business end of this stage, how about catching up on what happened yesterday? It was the punchy finish up Hatta Dam that we've seen in the Dubai Tour in recent years, and Caleb Ewan burst up to grab his first official win for Lotto Soudal. Report, results, photos all in the link below.
There are some familiar names in today's breakaway. There are only two Pro Continental teams here - Novo Nordisk and Gazpro-RusVelo - and they're forming the breaks alone most days.
Today we have, surprise surprise, Charles Planet from Novo Nordisk and Stepan Kurianov from Gazprom. They've been out front every day so far and are now duty-bound to keep at it, with the black intermediate sprints jersey and green points jersey on the line.
They have three for company today - Anton Vorobyev and Sergey Shilov for Gazprom, and Fabio Calabria for Novo Nordisk.
- 80km remaining from 181km
With 80km left to race, the five escapees have a lead of 2:30 over the peloton.
The gap has come down in the last few minutes. Back in the bunch riders were enjoying a chat, with Elia Viviani relaxed just off the back, but now a steadier tempo is being set.
It's UAE on the front with Vegard Stake Laengen, the 'home' team working to tee up Fernando Gaviria for a second stage win. QuickStep are also pulling, Elia Viviani being their sprinter, Caleb Ewan's Lotto Soudal have a number of riders up just behind.
Alexander Kristoff may well be on lead-out duties again for Gaviria, after his stellar work on stage 2. He had a chance to sprint gfor himself yesterday up Hatta Dam and he reached out but went backwards. It soon became clear why, as he crossed the line on foot, his seatstay snapped and rear derailleur ripped off. Here's the story and the photos.
- 70km remaining from 181km
The gap continues to drop. 1:50 now for the five breakaway riders with 70km to go.
After a long stretch of false flat uphill, where riders were pedalling out of the saddle, the road has now tipped the other way and most of the peloton are gently freewheeling along.
Not everyone likes this early-season desert racing. Fair enough. If not, don't worry, it's only two days until the season 'really' begins, as they say of the 'opening weekend' in Belgium. There's so much racing in February these days, but Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on the Saturday and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne on the Sunday always feels like a shift in tone.
Cyclingnews editor Daniel Benson is currently packing his bags for Belgium and he's written this feature picking out 12 riders to watch for the two races. Have a read here.
- 60km remaining from 181km
Back in the desert, this is about as routine a stage as you could imagine. Crosswinds have threatened throughout this race but no such drama today and the riders are barely breaking sweat. That will all change, of course, as things wind up on the run-in.
- 54km remaining from 181km
The gap to the five breakaway riders is down to 1:45.
The average speed today is 34km/h, some way down on the slowest predicted schedule.
The race's official Twitter account has just posted the sleeping face emoji - you know the one with the closed eyes and the 'zzz' coming out. The race's official account, whose function it is to, you know, promote their race. That's when you know it's bad.
The monotony will be broken imminently by an intermediate sprint. Planet and Kurianov will no doubt be going toe-to-toe for the points.
Gazprom have the numerical advantage and they lead it out, with Kurianov following at the back.
Kurianov opens it up and storms clear of Planet to collect the maximum eight points!
It's a job very well done from Gazprom, as Vorobyev manages to grab second place, thus allowing Planet just three points.
- 39km remaining from 181km
The gap comes down to a minute with just under 40km to go.
Kurianov extends his lead in the points classification to 12 over Planet, but Caleb Ewan is 15 points behind and could steal the green jersey if he wins the stage or finishes second. There are more points on offer on the line, with 20, 16, and 12 on offer for the top three.
As for the black jersey for the intermediate sprints classification, that's a two-horse race between Kurianov and Planet, and it's the Gazprom rider leading it by 12 now.
- 36km remaining from 181km
The breakaway riders have nothing much to fight for now and they've eased up, awaiting the peloton. The gap is 20 seconds now.
The catch is made, or is it... Calabria refuses to give up and accelerates once more as his companions are absorbed back into the bunch.
- 32km remaining from 181km
Calabria continues his effort but he's only six seconds clear and won't last long.
- 30km remaining from 181km
It's all over for Calabria.
Stake Laengen takes it up on the front of the peloton. It'll be a while yet before the pace really picks up.
Still it's Laengen and QuickStep's Mikkel Honore trading turns. Behind them is a mass of Lotto jerseys.
- 21.5km remaining from 181km
We're half an hour behind the slowest predicted time schedule. It's been that sort of day. Just over 20km to go and it will soon be ramping up on what will no doubt be a fast and furious run-in and finish.
Can Gaviria be beaten? The Colombian was imperious on stage 2, with a luxury lead-out from Kristoff. Viviani gave it his best but had to accept defeat. Ewan was third that day and won impressively on the steep finish yesterday.
Other contenders include Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin), Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe), Kristoffer Halvorsen (Team Sky), Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain-Merida), Max Walscheid (Sunweb), Sacha Modolo and Dan McLay from EF Education First, and, maybe, Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data).
- 14km remaining from 181km
Into the final 15km now and the pace is rising.
Groupama-FDJ move up on the right. They're working for Marc Sarreau.
- 12km remaining from 181km
Now the sprint trains are starting to get organised, with teams moving men up. The race is really starting now.
Kittel is moving up with his teammates, while Bahrain are also prominent.
- 10km remaining from 181km
Honore leads the way as the speed rises above 60km/h.
There are a couple of roundabouts with around 4km to go but otherwise it's not a technical finale.
Jumbo-Visma are sitting in among the sprint trains, keeping race leader Roglic safe until the safety net of the 3km-to-go banner.
Bahrain are leading now for Bauhaus.
Movistar are, as always, up near the front keeping Valverde safe.
Team Sky are moving up on the left now. Halvorsen is their sprinter and is looking for his second win of the season.
Vincenzo Nibali is one of the most successful riders of all time but is not too big to help pull for his team. The Italian is on the front with arms folded over his bars.
- 6km remaining from 181km
Big increase in pace as the road tips downhill. Jasha Sutterlin is practically sprinting for Movistar.
Big roundabout there, so riders are fighting for position. FDJ come through it well.
- 5km remaining from 181km
Lotto take it up on the left
Katusha are up there in the middle with Bahrain. Jumbo-Visma on the right.
And now Dimension Data hit the front. Is Cavendish feeling better?
Cavendish appears to have taken the wheel of Ewan and will look to use the Australian to go for the victory today.
Crash! Sarreau is down!
Touch of wheels there. Sarreau is the only rider to go down. He's ok but jersey ripped and he's out of contention.
- 3.5km remaining from 181km
Big round-about and they're going 3/4 of the way round.
Lotto are on the front here. Another roundabout coming up.
- 2.7km remaining from 181km
Lotto are taking this on. No sign of QuickStep near the front yet.
And now QuickStep move Viviani up.
- 2km remaining from 181km
Adam Hansen peels off and leaves it to Roger Kluge. Ewan also has Blythe as the last man in that leadout train.
It bunches up now as the pace slows slightly. QuickStep are up at the front now.
- 1.5km remaining from 181km
Here we go then. Cavendish is now going for Viviani's wheel.
Dimension Data and Katusha hitting the front now.
- 1km remaining from 181km
It's not all-out just yet
Sunweb come to the fore but QuickStep raise it. Lotto have gone.
Kristoff comes to the front to lead out Gaviria
Viviani and Kittel and Bennett all sprinting hard
It looks like Viviani takes it but Kittel was also up there coming past Gaviria.
Viviani punches the air. He seems confident he has it.
The replay confirms Viviani is the winner.
Gaviria takes second place ahead of Kittel.
That was an amazing sprint from Viviani. He gets disengaged from his lead-out man and starts sprinting a good bike length behind Gaviria, Kittel and Bennett, who are all pretty much in a line. He goes over to the right-hand side and, in what was quite a short-range sprint, draws level with 25 metres to go and takes it on the line.
1 Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep 04:48:59
2 Fernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team Emirates
3 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
4 Sam Bennett 9Ire) Bora-Hansgrohe
5 Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data
6 Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain-Merida
7 Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) Team Sky
8 Kjakub Mareczko (Ita) CCC Team
9 Cees Bol (Ned) Sunweb
10 Max Walscheid (Ger) Sunweb
No change on GC
1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 18:54:09
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:21
3 David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:38
4 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:46
5 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:54
6 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:01
7 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:01:04
8 Victor De La Parte (Spa) CCC Team 0:01:12
9 James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:01:14
10 Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:15
Let's hear from Viviani
"Like i said last year, a win is a win. For sure I'm really proud of myself and my team because it's never easy after a successful season like last year and you see Fernando [Gaviria] is no longer our teammate. I think with the best sprinters in the world, the hardest thing is to wait. I don't know who finished second and third but it was a chaotic finish. My lead out train worked really well and we were thinking about our tactics in the last few days because after the first stage, we wanted to win. As always, the team did a fantastic job, thanks to my teammates. I'm feeling good and we didn't want to spend too much energy yesterday and focus on the proper sprint stage."
Here's our stage report, where you can also find results and photos.