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UAE Tour 2019: Stage 6

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Hello and welcome to the live coverage of stage 6 of the UAE Tour. The stage ends with the climb to Jebel Jais.

 

UAE Tour 2019 start list

UAE Tour preview

UAE Tour stage 5: Viviani wins sprint in Khor Fakkan 

Roglic and Valverde go head to head on Jebel Jais for UAE Tour title - Preview

 

 

As we join the action, the riders still face 80km of racing. 

However the final 20km are on the climb up to the finish at Jebel Jais.

 

72km remaining from 175km

The stage started under grey skies after heavy overnight rain. Fortunately for the riders the roads are now dry but the tension in the peloton before the decisive mountain finish has sparked several crashes.

 

The stage has been fast with an average speed of 45,350 Km/h for the first two hours.

 

The speed was up because of an interesting break formed early on that included stage 5 winner Elia Viviani. 

 

He joined the move with Decueninick-QuickStep teammate Michael Morkov and targeted the two intermediate sprints. 

 

He won both to challenge for the green points jersey. 

 

The move was started by Adam Hansen and then he was joined by More Albasini, Clarke, Morkov, Rosskopf, Sieberg, Tratnik and Viviani. 

 

Viviani won both sprints and then eased up with Morkov, leaving the other riders up front. 

 

An early crash slowed the peloton and a second stack up in the bunch helped he break extend their lead up to 6:45. 

Albasini is working hard and perhaps has a real chance of winning the stage. 

 

Jumbo-Visma are leading the peloton to protect Primoz Roglic's race lead but they o not seem keen to do all the work.

 

Valverde was caught up in the early crash but was quickly brought back to the peloton and his Movistar is now lined out behind Jumbo-Visma. 

 

Today is Valverde's only chance to take time back on Roglic and so perhaps snatch overall victory.

 

Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) also suffered some nasty-looking road rash but it is back in the peloton.

 

59km remaining from 175km

The break still leads the peloton by 8:30.

 

There is a slight wind blowing from the right and so Jumbo form an echelon formation and leave the rest of the peloton in the wind.

 

The flags show there is a clear cross/head wind now on the road to the mountain finish in the north of the UAE.

 

Albasini is over 18 minutes down in the GC and so is not a threat to Roglic. 

That could allow the break to stay away.

 

The peloton is lined out as Jumbo keep the speed high.

 

Jumbo is also keeping the peloton in the gutter.

 

The USA's Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team) is only 9:08 down on GC and so could soon become virtual race leader. 

 

 

50km remaining from 175km

There are 50km remaining but 20km are on the climb to the finish. 

 

Rosskopf is back in the break after being distanced. 

 

Primoz Roglic spoke before the start of the stage. 

"It's a long climb to the finish and really hard. We don't know what will happen but the wind could be a factor," the race leader said.

 

"We've got a strong bunch of guys like every day so we'll see what happens.

 

"For sure I'm not in the position of needing to attack but have to respond to attacks and be on the wheels to do everything we can to defend the lead." 

 

38km remaining from 175km

The race is is on smaller roads now, making harder for the peloton to stay protected.

 

The gap to the break is still 8:15

 

 The huge gap caused Sunweb and Movistar to send a rider each to the front of the field, Slowly the gap started coming down to under the eight minute mark.

Sunweb either fears that Kelderman and Dumoulin will lose their top GC placings, or one of the two Dutchmen has plans for this stage. There are now two Sunwebs at the head of the field.

Alex Dowsett has just abandoned the race.

 

With 30km to go, the gap was still at 7:18. But the final climb, a probable game-changer, is still to come. 

 

The air is very dusty. The road is clear but the visibility is terrible. Not really what the riders want to breathe, one would think. 

 

The gap is now 6.42, which puts the peloton 4.4km behind the leaders. Good chances that someone in that group will take this win?

 

Astana too has joined in the lead work. 

 

23km remaining from 175km

With 23 km to go, and the climb starting momentarily, the gap is down to 6:00.

 

The upcoming climb is a long one, rather than a steep one. It averages 5.4% but has one section near the top of 9%.

 

20 km to go! The lead group has now officially started on its way up!

 

The gap is already under 5 minutes As expected, Marcel Sieberg has dropped from the lead group. At 198cm and 81kg, he is anything but a climber. 

 

Now the peloton has started the climb, and the first riders are dropping off the back. Including Marcel Kittel.

 

It was Cees Bol and Nikias Arndt who put in that time at the head of the field for Sunweb.

 

16km remaining from 175km

The five riders up front are still working together, but the gap is down to 3:49 with 16 km to go.

 

FdJ still has hopes for a stage win by David Gaudu, so they move up to the front, too.

 

At 14 km, the group was down to 4, and the gap at 2:57.

 

Tratnik, Rosskopf, Albasini and Clark are the four riders still in the lead.

 

The peloton is also continually shedding riders on its way up.

 

Jumbo - Visma is back in control of the pack, with some help from Sunweb.

 

12km remaining from 175km

Now Richie Porte and Vincenzo Nibali surge off the front of the peloton. 

Up front Tratnik has attacked the break too. 

 

This is the profile of the Jebel Jais climb. 

 

 

The climb twists up the side of the mountain as this map shows. 

 

 

 

11km remaining from 175km

Porte and Nibali have been swept up by the Jumbo team riding for Roglic.

 

Tratnik is still powering away up front. He's dropped Albasini but Rosskopf and Clarke have caught him. 

 

However their lead is down to just 2:20.

 

10km remaining from 175km

The peloton is riding around 4km/h faster than the break. Their chances of staying away are slim on the fast, wide climb.

 

Sadhbh O'Shea is at the summit finish for Cyclingnews and told us it is cold and foggy at the finish, with a slight headwind.

Sadhbh will have interviews and news from the stage finish later today.

 

9km remaining from 175km

Tony Martin is still leading the peloton for Roglic. The German has joined Jumbo for 2019 after a spell at Katusha. 

 

Clark is dropped from the break. 

 

This is the final part of the climb.

The gradient kicks up at 6% for the final 8km and is over 7% for the final 2km.  

 

 

7km remaining from 175km

Tony Martin moves after a huge turn on the front. 

 

It's up to Laurens de Plus now, with some help from Team Sunweb.

 

5km remaining from 175km

The peloton is lined out and ready to explode under the first attack.

 

4km remaining from 175km

Porte is distanced from the peloton of 20 riders.

 

Tratnik has also been caught and dropped.

Only Rosskopf is out front now. 

 

Ilnur Zakarin is also distanced.

 

The speed is steady but fast and hurting.

 

3km remaining from 175km

De Plus is going deep on the front, with Gaudu of FDJ just behind him. 

 

Valverde is on Roglic's wheel. Is he ready to attack? 

 

2km remaining from 175km

The peloton can see Rosskopf now. 

 

Valverde needs to pull back 21 seconds on Roglic.

 

Gaudu is third overall at 38 seconds.

 

2km remaining from 175km

Other riders, out of the GC will be focused on the stage victory.

 

Nibali is still there. As are Dan Martin and Tom Dumoulin.

 

The headwind on the climb is perhaps delaying attacks.

 

1km remaining from 175km

Last Km! It's time for Valverde to try his hand if he wants to crack Roglic.

 

De Plus has done a huge job by lining out Roglic's rivals on the climb.

 

0km remaining from 175km

Here we go. Attacks.

 

Martin goes first.

 

Dumoulin leads out the uphill sprint but Roglic beats him at the line!

 

Dumoulin tried to stomp on the pedals in the final 200m but Roglic came up and then past him before the line.

 

Dan Martin finished fourth in the same time, with Valverde fifth. 

 

Valverde did not seem to have speed or surge to attack Roglic or fight for the stage.

 

Roglic is warming down on the rollers after celebrating and thanking his teammates.

 

He owes them big time, especially Tony Martin and Laurens de Plus, who kept the speed high on the climb virtually all the way to the finish line. 

 

TV replays show Roglic was stuck along the barriers in the sprint. He shunted Wilco Kelderman out of the way and then sprinted past Gaudu and Dumoulin.

 

This is the first shot of Roglic winning the race leader's red jersey.

 

 

Roglic picked-up ten bonus seconds for winning the stage and so extended his overall race lead to 31 seconds on Alejandro Valverde.

Gaudu is third at 44 seconds.  

 

Here comes the gruppetto, containing many of the sprinters.

 

They finish 20:38 behind Roglic but will be saving their strength for Saturday's final sprint stage in Dubai. 

 

Valverde has revealed that awoke with a slight fever and so wasn't as his best.

 

 

Roglic was happy to win again but warned that the UAE Tour only ends after Saturday's stage. 

 

Roglic climbed on the podium to celebrate his stage win and to pull on the leader's red jersey.

 

 

"We showed with the whole team how strong we are and I’m really happy I managed to finish it off today," he said.

 

"From the beginning our guys did a perfect job and I was protected all day from the wind. We had a lot of guys for the last climb and Laurens [De Plus] pulled until the last 500 metres. It was really impressive from the whole team."

 

 

 

Stage 7 is a day for the sprinters but Roglic will only celebrate when the race is over.

 

"The race is done for today but tomorrow is anew day. We just have to stay focused until the finish," Roglic said.

 

This is the moment Roglic got ahead of Dumoulin to win the stage.

 

 

This shot shows just how strong Jumbo-Visma were today at the UAE Tour.

 

 

We've added more photos to our stage report page. 

 

Click here for the full report and photo gallery.

 

 

 

We'll have more news and interviews from stage 6 of the UAE Tour later today. 

 

We'll also have full coverage of Saturday's seventh and final stage of the UAE Tour as well as full live coverage of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, as the Belgian classics begin.  

 

Thanks for joining us today. Shukran! 

 

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