Mathias Vacek won from the breakaway on stage six of the UAE Tour as the peloton failed to time catching the attackers up the road on a flat day.
The Gazprom-RusVelo rider triumphed for the first time in his career in Dubai, as the Russian team made their numbers count in the break. Paul Lapeira of AG2R-Citroën came in behind, and was followed by Vacek's teammate Dmitry Strakhov in third.
Behind, Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) continued his impressive form to win the sprint for sixth place, but it was not the position he would have been hoping for at the beginning of the day.
Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates) remains in control of the general classification, leading Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) by four seconds ahead of Saturday's final stage.
How it happened
Few would have predicted anything other than a bunch sprint on a flat day in Dubai. Over 180km there was just 388 metres of climbing, almost nailing on that it would be a day for the fast men.
Almost from the gun, six riders attacked as the race left the Expo 2020. There were three Gazprom-RusVelo riders, as has been customary this week: Dmitry Strahkov, Pavel Kochetkov and Mathias Vacek. They were joined by two Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè riders, Alessandro Tonelli and Johnatan Cañaveral, and Paul Lapeira of AG2R-Citroën.
The Gazprom riders were there attempting to maintain the lead of Strahkov in the intermediate sprints competition, which he has been in control of throughout the race. He won both intermediate sprints on Friday to add to his lead.
While the gap between the peloton and the break briefly ticked over four and a half minutes, it still remained likely that the escapees would be caught.
However, despite the efforts of the sprinters teams behind, the gap still remained at a minute with 5km to go. Cañaveral had been dropped from the front at this point, but the others kept working.
It looked as if Gazprom would make their numerical superiority count, and they did in the end with Vacek outsprinting Lapeira for the win. Strahkov came in third, while Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) was the best finisher from the peloton, 15 seconds behind.
There was no change at the top of the general classification, with Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates) in control ahead of Saturday's summit finish.
UAE TOUR 2022, STAGE six: Expo 2020 Dubai to Expo 2020 Dubai (180km)
1. Mathias Vacek (Cze) Gazprom-RusVelo, in 3-58-10
2. Paul Lapeira (Fra) AG2R-Citroën, at same time
3. Dmitry Strahkov (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo
4. Alessandro Tonelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè, both at same time
5. Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo, at 5s
6. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix, at 15s
7. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) BikeExchange-Jayco, at same time
8. Pascal Ackermann (Deu) UAE Team Emirates
9. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel-Premier Tech
10. Jonathan Milan (Ita) Bahrain-Victorious, all at same time
General classification after stage six
1. Tadej Pogačar (Svn) UAE Team Emirates, in 22-18-02
2. Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers, at 4s
3. Aleksandr Vlasov (Kaz) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 14s
4. Adam Yates (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 17s
5. Neilson Powless (USA) EF Education-EasyPost, at 25s
6. João Almeida (Por) UAE-Team Emirates, at 30s
7. Pello Bilbao (Esp) Bahrain-Victorious, at 37s
8. Óscar Rodríguez (Esp) Movistar, at 40s
9. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Education-EasyPost, at 42s
10. Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team, at 43s
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