Molano sprints to stage four victory at UAE Tour to save UAE Team Emirates' race

Colombian rider wins stage for home team at fourth opportunity, as Remco Evenepoel continues in race lead

UAE Tour
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates) sprinted to victory on stage four of the UAE Tour, saving a disappointing race for the home squad.

The Colombian won on the bike throw, timing his sprint perfectly to power past Olav Kooij (Jumbo-Visma) and Sam Welsford (DSM) in Dubai Harbour on Thursday.

The high-speed sprint was tackled into the headwind, meaning timing was everything in the finish. Fernando Gaviria (Movistar) and Tim Merlier (Soudal Quick-Step) went early, and as a result were rounded in the final 100m.

It meant a win for UAE Team Emirates at the fourth opportunity, an important result at their home race, all the more important due to Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) having a clear advantage over its leader, Adam Yates. The race has been won by UAE's Tadej Pogačar for the last two editions.

"It's a good victory for me, a good victory for the team," Molano said on Thursday. "I'm very happy for the team, for this country. Thank you all the team and the riders. Pascal is a good sprinter, now he is not here, because it's better for me. My opportunity here is more important for me and for the team."

The UAE Tour is suited to sprinters, which is why there is such a roster at the Middle Eastern race; there are still two more flat days to come. Many of the big names were unable to challenge in the finale, including Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco AlUla), who came fifth, and others including Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe), Merlier, Gaviria, and Mark Cavendish (Astana-Qazaqstan).

Molano came round Welsford and Kooij in the final metres of the stage, finding a route through the sprinting chaos which eluded some of his more successful peers in the peloton.

The bunch finish followed a reasonably ordinary flat stage in the UAE, with a three-man breakaway up the road that was easily controlled for most of the day by a peloton that knew it was always heading for a sprint.

Samuele Zoccarato and Alessandro Tonelli (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè) and Alex Baudin (AG2R Citroën) made up the day's move, which moved clear of the peloton just a kilometre into the race, and was then caught with 2.6km to go. Despite the catch being made so close to the finish, the trio never looked like challenging.

The sprint finish looked like another photo finish, as happened on the opening stage when Merlier narrowly beat Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Dstny), but Molano was just about a clear winner.

Evenepoel maintained his lead in the general classification, just ahead of Luke Plapp (Ineos Grenadiers).

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Adam Becket
Senior news and features writer

Adam is Cycling Weekly’s senior news and feature writer – his greatest love is road racing but as long as he is cycling on tarmac, he's happy. Before joining Cycling Weekly he spent two years writing for Procycling, where he interviewed riders and wrote about racing, speaking to people as varied as Demi Vollering to Philippe Gilbert. Before cycling took over his professional life, he covered ecclesiastical matters at the world’s largest Anglican newspaper and politics at Business Insider. Don't ask how that is related to cycling.