Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) took a comprehensive victory on the final stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour as he proved too fast for Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) and André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), as Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) confirmed his overall victory.
Racing in terrible conditions around the Yas Marina Formula One circuit, Orica-Scott controlled the final few kilometres to perfection, with the 6’4″ Roger Kluge doing an excellent job of keeping the 5’4″ Ewan sheltered from the wind.
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When he did emerge out of his giant lead-out man’s slipstream, Ewan unleashed a fierce acceleration, and although Cavendish was locked into the Australian’s wheel, he was unable to come around the outside, giving Ewan his fifth win of the season.
The peloton cannot have been expecting to race in torrential rain on the Yas Marina Formula One circuit, so riders were probably pleased to a break escape early, with six riders in the move.
They were Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing), Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe), Kirill Sveshnikov (Gazprom Rusvelo), Rafael Valls (Lotto-Soudal), and Alex Dowsett and Jorge Arcas (Movistar).
The gap quickly grew to a minute and a half, where it remained for a number of kilometres, before the sprinters’ teams started to come to the front of the peloton to make the gap to the break tumble downward.
Watch: Caleb Ewan on sprinting
Into the final 50km and the break started to disintegrate, with Dowsett and Teuns being the last to hold out, eventually being caught with just under 30 kilometres to go.
The final ten kilometres saw the rain start to ease as the sprinter’s teams began to get into formation, with Orica-Scott being particularly prominent as they looked to set up Caleb Ewan.
The speed only began to rise for the final lap of the five kilometre circuit, with Orica-Scott and Bora-Hansgrohe controlling the front of the group under the flamme rouge.
There was a distinct lack of Dimension Data riders towards the front, but the one that mattered, Cavendish, was locked on Ewan’s wheel, and looked ready to pounce.
However Ewan jumped first, and unleashed a burst of speed that meant Cavendish had to settle for second, with Greipel coming from a long way back to take third.
As for the GC contenders, they all rolled in safely in the bunch, meaning a home victory for UAE Team Emirates courtesy of Rui Costa.
Abu Dhabi Tour 2017, stage four: Yas Marina Circuit, 143km
1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott, in 3-03-06
2. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data
3. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Soudal
4. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
5. Matteo Pelluchi (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Roger Kluge (Ger) Orica-Scott
7. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors
8. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
9. Kiel Reijnan (USA) Trek-Segafredo
10. Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin, all same time
Abu Dhabi Tour 2017: Final general classification
1. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates, in 15-42-21
2. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin, at 4 secs
3. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb, at 16 secs
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo, at 38 secs
5. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors, at 53 secs
6. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 56 secs
7. George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 56 secs
8. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, at 56 secs
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r La Mondiale, at 56 secs
10. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 1-07