UAE Tour 2019: Elia Viviani wins Stage 5 as Primoz Roglic retains lead

UAE Team Emirates' Fernando Gaviria misses out on second stage win of event in sprint finish

TOPSHOT - The pack rides during the fifth stage of the UAE tour from Sharjah to Khor Fakkan on February 28, 2019. / AFP / GIUSEPPE CACACE
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UAE Team Emirates rider Fernando Gaviria missed out on a second stage of the inaugural UAE Tour on Thursday as he was beaten to the line in a sprint finish by Elia Viviani.

Gaviria had beaten Viviani in Monday’s Stage 2 in Abu Dhabi but the roles were reversed this time around on Stage 5’s final few metres at Khor Fakkan following a 181km route that had begun at Flag Island in Sharjah.

Viviani and Gaviria had been teammates at  Deceunninck-Quick Step until the Colombian joined UAE Team Emirates over the winter and the Italian said avenging Monday’s loss was satisfying given how highly he rates his former colleague.

“After the successful season I had last year and Fernando not being our teammate anymore, it’s great to still win because he’s the world’s best sprinter and the hardest to beat,” said Viviani.

“I’m glad we did it as a team today after losing Stage 2 to him. My lead-out train worked really well in this chaotic finish.”

Gaviria believed he had got his tactics slightly wrong as he reflected on being on how he had missed out.

“I’m disappointed because I always ride to win,” said the 24 year old. “But that’s sprinting- sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.

“Today I thought the wind was less strong and I started a bit early. However, Elia was really fast and he deserved the win. Now there’s one sprint stage (Saturday’s Stage 7) left in the UAE Tour and I hope to take it.”

Marcel Kittel of Team Katusha Alpecin edged out Sam Bennett of Bora-Hansgrohe for third spot in the four-way tie across the finishing line.

Primoz Roglic of Jumbo-Visma finished in the peloton to retain his leader’s red jersey in the general classification standings, a position he has held since Sunday’s opening day team trial.

“As expected, it was a long day in the saddle but I didn’t really get bored because we always had to be attentive in the desert with the crosswinds,” added the Slovenian.

“Again, our team did a great job, who protected my (leading) time. For sure, we’re ready for tomorrow’s decisive stage.”

He is 21 seconds ahead of Spaniard Alejandro Valverde, with Frenchman David Gaudu a further 14 seconds adrift in third spot.

The race continues on Friday with Stage 6, a 180km run to a summit finish at Jebel Jais.