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Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) came up short on the final stage of the UAE Tour, despite a valiant effort against two-time Tour de France champion, and eventual race winner Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates).
The British rider was the only rider to put in a significant attack against Pogačar on the final climb to Jebel Hafeet, and although he looked to have put the race leader in difficulty, he was unable to gain any ground. A second move from Yates also proved unsuccessful with Pogačar winning the stage and taking a 22-second overall win ahead of the Brit.
Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) was best of the rest and finished third on the stage and third overall.
“Big thanks to all the guys. Today was the last mountain stage and we put a lot of effort into it. We’ve been working hard and well as a team all week, not just for GC but for the sprints too. I’ve really enjoyed being a part of it,” Yates said at the finish of the race.
“Today we came up short but not through any lack of effort. The first attack I went full gas until I couldn’t go any more. I had a look behind and was hoping [Pogacar] wasn’t there – but it’s pretty hard to drop a double Tour de France winner. I tried again right at the final and I still couldn’t get rid of him. On a finish like this he’s pretty quick in a sprint. All in all I think we can be happy with how we’ve raced – there’s plenty to build on.”
Ineos had tried its best to put Pogačar under pressure throughout the race but it was UAE Team Emirates which set a furious tempo on the latter stages of the final climb. Pogacar’s team reduced the lead group to just a handful of riders but present and accounted for was Luke Plapp.
Proud of these guys and all the Grenadiers at #UAETour.
— INEOS Grenadiers (@INEOSGrenadiers) February 26, 2022
The young Australian, who was making his WorldTour debut at the race, came back from a small crash earlier in the week to cement his reputation as a major star for the future. He was still in the lead group when Yates attacked and finished fifth on the stage. Most of the time Plapp lost on GC came in the individual time trial. He crashed that morning in recon and was forced to ride against the clock using his road bike.
Despite that, he finished 12th overall, 2:11 down on Pogacar. At he finish Yates praised his young 21-year-old teammate and tipped him for the very top.
“Luke is a young guy but you can see how strong he is,” said Yates.
“He’s got real potential and you can see how motivated he is. I’m sure he’s got a big future ahead of him.”