Tadej Pogacar storms to Stage Four victory to take overall lead in the UAE Tour

The UAE Team Emirates star outsprints Yates and Vlasov at the summit of Jebel Jais

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UAE Team Emirates star Tadej Pogacar stayed on track to defend his UAE Tour title by taking Stage Four after pipping his rivals in a group finish at the summit of Jebel Jais on Wednesday.

The Slovenian got the better of Ineos Grenadiers rider Adam Yates and Aleksandr Vlasov of Bora-Hansgrohe. The win also moved Pogacar up to overall leader, a couple of seconds ahead of Filippo Ganna, also of Ineos.

“It was an amazing day,” Pogacar said soon after crossing the finishing line. “The teamwork was perfect. It was the first climb, with a lot of strong riders attacking left right and centre.

“The team did a super job bringing me to the final sprint, and I did my best possible and am super happy.

“I'm super happy to take the stage and kick off the year with a win. You don't know what can happen on the last day, you can lose time, so I'm super happy to take the jersey and the win today, so now we have two flat stages and then we focus on the final day and see how it goes.”

The first of the two summit finishes of the UAE Tour was marked by high speed and many attacks on the 20-kilometre climb.

Pogacar’s UAE Team Emirates squad set out their stall with brisk pace-making at the base of the climb, and Rafal Majka was later delegated to go on the offensive midway up.

The Slovenian was later part of an elite, six-man group that was dragged clear by Yates with 2.5km to go, but that sextet was caught with a shade over a kilometre remaining.

Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) took up the reins in the front group of twenty or so riders beneath the flamme rouge as he looked to tee up the stage for Pogacar.

Luke Plapp (Ineos), who had already tracked some moves earlier on the climb, made one final effort with 500m to go, but Majka summoned the strength to shut down his acceleration.

Pogacar unleashed a ferocious sprint inside the final 200m that carried him to stage victory, with Yates beating Vlasov to second place, and the rest of the group coming in three seconds down.

The race now returns to the sprint stage, a 182km flat run from the Ras Al Khaimah Corniche to Al Marjan Island.

Stage four top five finish:

1. Tadej Pogačar (SLO) UAE Team Emirates, in 4-49-24

2. Adam Yates (GBR) Ineos Grenadiers

3. Aleksandr Vlasov (KAZ) Bora-Hansgrohe

4. Ruben Guerreiro (POR) EF Education-EasyPost, at 3s

5. Damien Howson (AUS) BikeExchange Jayco

General Classification top six

1. Tadej Pogačar (SLO) UAE Team Emirates, in 14-02-34

2. Filippo Ganna (ITA) Ineos Grenadiers, at 2s

3. Aleksandr Vlasov (KAZ) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 13s

4. Adam Yates (GBR) Ineos Grenadiers, at 15s

5. Neilson Powless (USA) EF Education-EasyPost, at 23s

6. Joao Almeida (POR) UAE-Team Emirates, at 28s

Updated: February 23, 2022, 5:31 PM