Dylan Groenewegen proved himself the fastest man in a pure drag race finish on stage four of the UAE Tour 2020.
Long wide roads to the final made it a test for the fastest riders, with Groenewegen triumphing to take his third win of 2020.
Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) had an uneventful day and so holds on to his overall race lead.
How it happened
Stage four of the 2020 UAE Tour was expected to be a straight forward sprint stage, after an explosive general classification day on Jebel Hafeet the day before.
The 173km stage, starting and finishing in Dubai, featured no categorised climbs, and the only rise was an uncategorised ramp that topped out with around 142km before the rapid run to the line.
Only two riders committed to a long and tedious day in the break, as Veljko Stojnič (Vini Zabú-KTM) and Will Clarke (Trek-Segafredo), but the peloton wouldn’t let them get far, keeping the escapees to around a 2-30 advantage for much of the day.
A crash in the bunch inside 100km took down Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), but the Australian sprinter was uninjured and comfortably made it back into the bunch.
With less than 50km to race, the gap had tumbled to under a minute and Stojnič sat up to re-join the peloton just under the 40km mark, leaving Clarke out front alone with a 20-second gap.
The peloton suddenly knocked off the pace and Clarke’s advantage group rapidly out to more than a minute and then two as no teams were willing to take up the chase.
Finally Quick-Step and Jumbo-Visma committed riders to the pursuit and Clarke was finally caught at around the 8km mark, setting up the bunch sprint.
As the peloton hit the final left hand-turn with 600m to the line, Quick-Step were the best positioned, with Gaviria and Groenewegen not far behind.
Shane Archibold swung off the front inside 200m and forced his sprinter Bennett to make his move, but it was too far out and the Irishman faded quickly from the front position, as Groenewegen fired off his wheel into the lead.
Groenewegen would not be caught, as Gaviria took second and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) snuck in for third, while Bennett faded back to fourth.
Yates still holds his 1-07 lead over Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) as the peloton returns to Jebel Hafeet on stage five.
UAE Tour 2020, stage four: Zabeel Park to Dubai City
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, in 4-16-13
2. Fernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team Emirates
3. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
4. Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
5. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto-Soudal
6. Kaden Groves (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
7. Jakub Mareczko (Ita) CCC Team
8. Attilio Viviani (Ital) Cofidis
9. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start-Up Nation
10. Max Walscheid (Ger) NTT Pro Cycling
General classification after stage four
1. Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott, in 16-46-15
2. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott, at 1-07
3. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana, at 1-35
4. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 1-40
5. Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe, at same time
6. Jesús Herrada (Esp) Cofidis, at 2-05
7. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb, at 2-06
8. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
9. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
10. Eddie Dunbar (Irl) Team Ineos, all at same time