UAE Tour: Gaviria nabs stage 2 win

The Colombian wins the second stage of the Middle Eastern race in a bunch sprint.

Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) snared a victory in the second stage of the UAE Tour on Monday.

The Colombian won in a bunch sprint ahead of Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal). Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) remains in the overall race lead after his squad won Sunday’s opening-stage team time trial.

Roglic’s teammates Jos Van Emden and Laurens De Plus are second and third overall.

“It was a very difficult sprint because there are a lot of strong riders here for sprinting,” Gaviria said after the 184-kilometer stage from Yas Island to Abu Dhabi (Big Flag).

“But my teammates did a really good job, notably in the crosswinds when the peloton split. At the end, I got a perfect lead-out from [Alexander] Kristoff. It’s very important for us to win here as a team. The UAE is my new home.”

Said Roglic: “It was a typical race here with the crosswinds. But we did well. I was in the first group and everything came back together. We showed our strength but we still have to take it day by day. I’ve never ridden tomorrow’s final climb but I’ll give everything.”

Other riders and teams agreed that the crosswinds presented a challenge. However, they didn’t provoke a lasting split in the peloton.

“The crosswinds were dangerous and ended up splitting the peloton into several groups,” said Enrico Poitschke, Bora-Hansgrohe director, whose sprinter Sam Bennett ended up sixth on the day. “This had the potential to be a very decisive moment in the race, but ultimately everything came back together again, after which point the team concentrated on its preparations for the sprint.”

The race resumes with Tuesday’s 179km stage 3 from UAE University to Jebel Hafeet. The finishing climb is a 10.1km slog with an average gradient of 6.6 percent.