Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) knows his form is good after charging up the Jebel Jais to try to win the UAE Tour's sixth stage.
Race leader Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) edged past Dumoulin at the line to strengthen his race lead. Dumoulin, however, got the markers he needed heading towards the Giro d'Italia in May.
"At least I confirmed that my shape is good," the Dutchman said at the top of the 20.6km climb near the border with Oman.
"I knew that beforehand but because of some reasons I was not very good at the other summit hill finish. Now it's OK."
He came to a stop at his team's van instead of the podium. Roglič now should take the race overall when the UAE Tour ends in Dubai on Saturday. Dumoulin sits sixth overall at 1-08 minutes.
Dumoulin had tried in stage three but faded under the pressure of Daniel Martin (UAE Team Emirates) and Roglič. He said that he had expected more from himself afterwards.
The altitude training he had before he began his 2019 season in the Emirates helped climbing 1,113 metres today. Dumoulin opened a long attack after the final curve, overtaking Martin and holding off David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), but Roglič surged by.
Second place was impressive since earlier in the day Dumoulin nearly abandoned after a crash.
"My condition was good. Actually, I was in a crash after five kilometres. I almost quit the race because I had a lot of problems with my [left] leg. I over-stretched it somehow in the crash," Dumoulin explained.
"I thought for about an hour, I thought about quitting and I thought it didn't make any sense to continue, and I got second at the end of the day.
"I knew the form was good that's why I was also so very disappointed when I crashed, that it wasn't meant to be again like last time. Luckily I had a good go for it, but Roglic was too strong."
Dumoulin will go on to race Tirreno-Adriatico later this month. This year, he is returning to try to win the Giro d'Italia after his 2017 victory.
In 2018, he placed second behind Chris Froome and second again behind Froome's Sky team-mate Geraint Thomas in the Tour de France.
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