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UAE Tour Stage 2 - Live coverage



As we pick up the action, two riders have a lead of 3 minutes over the peloton. The two riders both come from the same Vini Zabu' KTM team: Veljko Stojnic and Leonardo Tortomasi. The peloton seems more than content to grant this duo some early leeway.

There were two non-starters this morning. Miles Scotson (Groupama-FDJ) has withdrawn due to illness and Laurens De Plus (Jumbo-Visma) was also unable to start.

Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) wears the red jersey of race leader after his victory on stage 1, but the man he beat into second place, Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal), will fancy his chances of revenge today. The uphill finale at Hatta Dam is a special kind of test. Ewan won here a year ago, beating Matteo Moschetti and Primoz Roglic to the line.

Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) looks good in red

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)



Veljko Stojnic and Leonardo Tortomasi (Vini Zabu' KTM)

Peloton at 3:25

Mauro Vegni is present at the UAE Tour, but his thoughts are assuredly back in Italy, where the coronavirus has seen a number of towns in Lombardy and the Veneto placed under lockdown. Many public gatherings, including Serie A football matches, have been postponed or cancelled as a result, and RCS Sport's forthcoming slate of spring racing - and, in particular, Milan-San Remo - could be at risk if the situation does not improve in northern Italy. 

"Milan-San Remo is the one that worries me the most," Vegni said. "Milan is one of the two key places that has recorded the most number of cases to date. But we will follow all the guidelines from the government and the ministry of public health. For Tirreno, it’s in a different place. It’s not like Venice or Milan but what concerns me the most is around Milan because of the Lombardy situation."

Read the full story here.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

At the first intermediate sprint, incidentally, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) signalled his intentions for the week - and the day, perhaps - by powering through the claim the bonus second on offer for third place.


Rudiger Selig (Bora-Hansgrohe) sets the pace in the peloton. Out in front, the Vini Zabu' KTM pair of Veljko Stojnic and Leonardo Tortomasi continue their Trofeo Baracchi-style effort with a lead of 3 minutes on the bunch.

Chris Froome returns to action at the UAE Tour for the first time since his crash at last year's Critérium du Dauphiné, but the Ineos general classification challenge this week is being led by Eddie Dunbar. The Banteer man showcased his form with 6th overall at the recent Tour de la Provence, where he rode strongly on the Mont Ventoux stage.  "My winter went well and today will be a good test to open up the legs for tomorrow and see where I’m at," Dunbar told Cyclingnews at the start of stage 2. Read the full story here.

(Image credit: Getty Images)


The peloton is through the feed zone and almost at the mid-point of the day's stage. 

Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) began his season with a hat-trick of stage wins at the Vuelta a San Juan, and he will hope to carry that form into the UAE Tour, his first WorldTour race of the 2020 campaign. He had to settle for 20th on the opening day but the Colombian will have more opportunities this week. "The team is great. We’ll try every day but yesterday was nothing special. That’s cycling, and it happens sometimes. It was a really complicated finish with a lot of roundabouts in the end but that’s okay," he said. My form is good and I’ve been really happy with my performance. In the next few says we’ll see what happens. We’ve got a number of opportunities left in the race and we’ll try a few more things."

Fernando Gaviria

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

A reminder of the general classification picture after stage 1:

1 Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe    3:29:09

2 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal        0:00:04

3 Veljko Stojnic (Srb) Vini Zabu' KTM  0:00:05

4 Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start-Up Nation     0:00:06

5 Leonardo Tortomasi (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM     

6 Nikolai Cherkasov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo  0:00:07

7 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma       0:00:10

8 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott

9 Alberto Dainese (Ita) Team Sunweb

10 Jakub Mareczko (Ita) CCC Team

Tim Roosen (Jumbo-Visma) placed 3rd at Hatta Dam two years ago. His primary duty here will be to help Dylan Groenewegen, but he might yet find himself stepping up to the mark if required. "It’s just a short burst of pain," Roosen said of the finale at Hatta Dam. "But the way to the climb is not easy as well, there are a lot of corners and you have to be in a good position at the bottom of Hatta Dam. Caleb Ewan will be the one to watch there."



Veljko Stojnic and Leonardo Tortomasi (Vini Zabu' KTM)

Peloton at 4:18

Lotto Soudal have taken up the reins at the head of the peloton on behalf of Caleb Ewan, who is the obvious favourite for stage victory today.


Lotto Soudal's injection of pace has seen a minute or so knocked off the break's lead.  3:05 the gap.

2019 winner Primoz Roglic is an absentee - he starts his season at Paris-Nice next month - but another Slovenian, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) might well follow him on the roll of honour. Already winner of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, he picked up a bonus second at the first intermediate sprint today.

"Today is important because you never know about the splits and the crashes. We need to be attentive for the sprint and hope to be in the front," Pogacar said at the start. "I was a bit surprised to start the season so well but I’ve spent the winter preparing really well. I can transform the form from Valenicia to this race. I’ve not looked at the stage 3 and 5 climb. I’ve only seen it on video. I understand the climb and we’ll see tomorrow. This is an important race for me and the team and I’m here to do my best. I hope for the victory."

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana 2020 - 71st Edition - 2nd stage Torrent - Cullera 181 km - 06/02/2020 - Tadej Pogacar (SLO - UAE - Team Emirates) - Alejandro Valverde (ESP - Movistar Team) - photo Luis Angel Gomez/BettiniPhoto©2020

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)


The lead of the Vini Zabu' KTM duo of Veljko Stojnic and Leonardo Tortomasi is beginning to melt. The gap is down to 1:54. 


Remy Mertz sets the pace at the head of the bunch for Lotto Soudal, and the gap is down to 1:39 as the race enters the final 50km.

Stojnic leads his teammate through the intermediate sprint but now Astana are winding up the pace behind in a bid to set up Alexey Lutsenko for third place.

Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) beats Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) to the bonus second in a very keenly-contested sprint. 


Stojnic sits up, leaving his Vini Zabu-KTM teammate Leonardo Tortomasi alone at the head of the race with a lead of one minute over the peloton.


The pace relents slightly in the bunch after that intermediate sprint, and Leonardo Tortomasi (Vini Zabu' KTM) nudges his lead out to 1:20.

Wout Poels (Bahrain-McLaren) and Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) suffer mechanical problems in quick succession, but both men will get back on swiftly.


Leonardo Tortomasi (Vini Zabu-KTM) presses on with a buffer of 1:44 over the Lotto-Soudal-led peloton. 


Lotto Soudal et al are content to allow the lone escapee Tortomasi linger out in front a little longer ahead of the undulations that precede the final kick up to Hatta Dam. 1:24 the gap.

Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) is sitting comfortably in the red jersey near the head of the peloton. The German is prepared to try his luck on the uphill finale today, though he knows that it doesn't tally with his characteristics as a fast man.


The bunch spreads across the road. Nobody seems keen to take up the reins this far out, and so Tortomasi continues to hold a lead just shy of 1:30.



Leonardo Tortomasi (Vini Zabu-KTM)

Peloton at 1:20

Remy Mertz is back on the front of the peloton for Lotto Soudal, but there is still no great urgency at this point.


Into the final 30km for Tortomasi, whose lead has dropped inside one minute. 51 seconds the gap. The average speed thus far is a relatively gentle 38kph, though there has been a deceptive amount of climbing on a route littered with long and very false flats.


Tortomasi is flagging visibly on an exposed section of road, and as he glances over his shoulder, he can see the peloton drawing inexorably closer. The gap is down to 27 seconds.


Twenty seconds for Tortomasi, who is grinding uphill into a headwind and must be almost willing the peloton to bring an end to his solo effort. 


Leonardo Tortomasi (Vini Zabù - KTM) is caught by the peloton. Gruppo compatto.


Delegations from Movistar, Astana, Jumbo-Visma and Bahrain-Merida are all moving to the front as the pace begins to ratchet up ahead of the finale.

The terrain that the UAE Tour peloton faces on stage 2 to Hatta Dam.

The terrain that the UAE Tour peloton faces on stage 2 to Hatta Dam. (Image credit: RCS Sport)

Andrey Amador (Ineos) moves towards the head of the peloton. The Costa Rican is making his debut for the team at this UAE Tour.


Lotto Soudal return to the head of the peloton on behalf of Caleb Ewan. Sunweb are also a visible presence at the front as the road is about to face into one of the unclassified climbs that punctuate the preamble to the final haul up to Hatta Dam.

The roads are wide for the time being, but the battle for positions will become rather more cut-throat in the closing kilometres. 


No one team is controlling affairs at the head of the bunch, but a number of squads are moving towards the front en masse, including Astana and now Mitchelton-Scott.

One constant near the front is Lotto Soudal, who are keeping Caleb Ewan well placed throughout this finale.


There is an injection of urgency in the peloton as the road narrows slightly and climbs. Amador puts in a long turn at the front for Ineos.


Movistar take over at the front on behalf of Alejandro Valverde. The gradient is about to stiffen and this is a pressure point for the pure sprinters...

Red jersey Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) is among the men jettisoned out the back by this Movistar forcing. Ewan is still in contact in the middle of the bunch.


Victor Campenaerts (NTT) attacks near the lip of this short, sharp climb and opens a small gap. Meanwhile, Mark Cavendish (Bahrain-Merida) has been dropped.

Campenaerts is joined off the front by Nicola Conci (Trek-Segafredo) and this duo has a small gap over the peloton as they swoop down the other side of the climb.


Chris Froome (Ineos) is distanced by the peloton when the road kicks up once again.



Victor Campenaerts (NTT) and Nicola Conci (Trek-Segafredo)

Peloton at 0:11


Conci and Campenaerts are collaborating smoothly and they stretch their lead out to 16 seconds as they swoop down another short and fast descent.

At least three sprinters are still in this main peloton: Caleb Ewan, Sam Bennett and Fernando Gaviria.


Movistar lead the pursuit of Campenaerts and Conci, who have a gap of 16 seconds.

Froome has managed to catch back up to the peloton on the most recent descent. Deceuninck-QuickStep and Mitchelton-Scott wind things up at the front in pursuit of the two leaders.


10 seconds for Campenaerts and Conci as they reach the town of Hatta and navigate the roundabouts that lead towards the base of the final climb.


Conci and Campenaerts have just 5 seconds in hand and they won't last much longer in front.


Campenaerts and Conci are caught. Cofidis lead the peloton on behalf of Jesus Herrada.


The road climbs from this point and grows steeper in the final 300 metres or so, where the gradient kicks up to 17%.

Chris Froome has been dislodged once again at the rear of the bunch.


The road grows narrower and the scramble for position becomes more fraught. Valverde, Sam Bennett and Ewan are among the contenders well placed near the front. 

Astana wind up the pace on the front for Alexey Lutsenko. Mitchelton-Scott move up for Luka Mezgec. 


Astana lead into the final kilometre, but UAE Team Emirates have four riders near the front and an array of options on this kind of finale...

Lotto Soudal take it up on the shallower slopes that precede the final kick.

Jasper De Buyst leads, with Ewan on his wheel and Sam Bennett just behind the Australian.

Sam Bennett opens his effort from distance...

Ewan sets out in pursuit...

Ewan comes past as the gradient bites...

Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) wins stage 2 of the UAE Tour.

Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep) placed second on the stage.

Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) took third on the stage ahead of Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) and Rick Zabel (Israel Start-Up Nation).


1 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal 04:18:18

2 Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck-QuickStep 00:00:02

3 Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 00:00:04

4 Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates

5 Rick Zabel (Ger) Israel Start-Up Nation

6 Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale

7 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott

8 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott

9 Tadej Pogacr (Slo) UAE Team Emirates

10 David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ

Caleb Ewan's victory at Hatta Dam - a repeat of 2019 - also sees him move into the red jersey of overall leader.

Sam Bennett opened his sprint with 200m to go, just as the gradient kicked up. Ewan bided his time and waited for the final 30m. The Australian was able to lean on the knowledge gleaned from his victory here 12 months ago.

Caleb Ewan says he wasn't concerned when Bennett opened a gap with his crisp acceleration: "No. I could have gone from the bottom as well but I thought it was better to wait a few seconds. Those last 20 or 30 metres are where you can win the race. I knew how long I could go for and I could time my sprint very well and accelerate all the way to the line.”

General classification after stage 2

1 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal 07:47:19

2 Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck-QuickStep 00:00:12

3 Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 00:00:16

4 Nikolai Cherkasov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo 00:00:17

5 Alexey Lutsensko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 00:00:19

6 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott 00:00:20

7 Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale

8 Rick Zabel (Ger) Israel Start-Up Nation

9 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb

10 David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ

Caleb Ewan: “I’m so happy with that win, it’s a really tough finish. I thought today would be harder than last year because of the profile but the wind made it straightforward. The team did a great job to drop me off at the final corner.”

Caleb Ewan wins at Hatta Dam on stage 2 of the 2020 UAE Tour.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It was a fine effort from Bennett, who tried to steal a march on Ewan by swooping on the inside of the right-hand turn with 200m to go. The finish couldn't quite come soon enough, however, and Ewan came past him inside the final 30m. Bennett almost rode into the barriers just as Ewan came by, but he managed to right himself and keep his gear turning over to take second, 2 seconds ahead of Demare and Ulissi.

Chris Froome came home more than 3 minutes down after losing contact in the finale. The UAE Tour is his first race since he crashed heavily at the Critérium du Dauphiné in June.


1 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal      4:18:18

2 Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck-QuickStep  0:00:02

3 Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ        0:00:04

4 Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates     

5 Rick Zabel (Ger) Israel Start-Up Nation    

6 Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale          

7 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott         

8 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott         

9 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 

10 David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ

General classification

1 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal      7:47:19

2 Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck-QuickStep  0:00:12

3 Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ        0:00:16

4 Nikolai Cherkasov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo           0:00:17

5 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  0:00:19

6 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott          0:00:20

7 Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R la Mondiale           

8 Rick Zabel (Ger) Israel Start-Up Nation    

9 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb     

10 David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ

Thanks for following our live coverage of stage 2 of the UAE Tour on Cyclingnews. A full report, results and pictures from today's stage are available here and we'll be back with more live coverage tomorrow as the race visits Jebel Hafeet for the first time. 

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