Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) dashed to victory in Thursday’s stage 5 at the UAE Tour, besting a field of fast sprinters at the finish line.
Viviani beat Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates), who he called “the world’s best sprinter,” and Marcel Kittel (Katusha Alpecin) to capture his third win of the young 2019 season.
“After the successful season I had last year and Fernando [Gaviria] not being our teammate anymore, it’s great to still win because he’s the world’s best sprinter and the hardest to beat,” Viviani said. “So 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. We took the right decision to not spend more energy than needed yesterday and focus exclusively on today.”
Last month, Viviani won a stage at the Santos Tour Down Under and was victorious at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma), who first took the race lead in stage 1 after his squad won the team time trial, retained his overall advantage in Thursday’s 181-kilometer stage from Flag Island to Khor Fakkan.
“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,” Roglic said. “Again, our team did a great job, who protected my time. For sure, we’re ready for tomorrow’s decisive stage.”
Friday’s stage 6 will likely determine the winner of the seven-day race. The 180km route from Ajman to Jebel Jais will culminate with a 20.7km climb with an average gradient of 6 percent.