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UAE Tour Stage 2 - Live coverage

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-119km

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 Miles Scotson (Groupama-FDJ) has withdrawn due to illness and Laurens De Plus (Jumbo-Visma) was also unable to start.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.

-105km

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. 

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.

-93km

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.

-86km

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."

A reminder of the general classification picture after stage 1:

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."

-65km

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.

-60km

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.

-53km

-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. 

-47km

-45km

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

-42km

-39km

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.

-36km

-32km

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

-30km

-28km

-25km

-24km

-21km

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.

-18km

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

-15km

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

-12km

-10.5km

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.

-10km

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.

-8km

Situation

-7km

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

-6km

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.

-5km

-4km

-3.5km

-3km

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

-2km

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

-1km

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).

Result

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

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.

Result

General classification

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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