Calabria and Planet Back in Breakaway on Stage 5 of UAE Tour
28 February 2019
Race: UAE Tour, Stage 5
Start/Finish: Sharjah/Khor Fakkan, United Arab Emirates
Distance: 181 kilometers
Khor Fakkan, UAE —Team Novo Nordisk continued to fight for the Abu Dhabi Aviation intermediate sprint jersey classification by placing Charles Planet in the breakaway for the fourth consecutive day. Planet was supported by veteran Fabio Calabria, while teammate Mehdi Benhamouda finished just outside the top 10 in 13th place.
Thursday’s stage began in Sharjah and proved to be another battle between Team Novo Nordisk and Gazprom – RusVelo for the intermediate sprint jersey.
Planet attacked following the neutral section and a Gazprom – RusVelo rider was immediately on his wheel. Meanwhile, Calabria was launching his own attack on the left-hand side of the road and made it off the front but had the current leader in the sprint and intermediate sprint classifications Stepan Kuriyanov and another Gazprom – RusVelo rider on his wheel.
The peloton kept the five-man on at a manageable gap all day, never allowing more than four minutes.
Through the first intermediate sprint, Calabria led Planet out and he took top honors. The Frenchman was third through the second intermediate sprint and remains nine points behind Kuriyanov.
The break was reeled in with 30 km remaining in anticipation of the bunch sprint along the waterfront in Khor Fakkan. Team Novo Nordisk riders found each other and worked well into the final kilometers. In the finish, Benhamouda sprinted to 13th position.
Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team, continues racing at the UAE Tour on Friday. The penultimate stage most likely will determine the overall race. The 180-km stage features a flat approach leading to the final 20 km to the finish line. Another squad is currently racing at the Tour du Rwanda.
“It was definitely windier and the bunch kept us on a tighter leash, which means we used more energy and rode harder today. I definitely enjoyed my share of strawberry Honey Stinger waffles to get through the day. Overall, my priority was keeping an eye on the RusVelo riders because we were outnumbered and putting Charles into the best positions for the sprints.”
1st: Elia Viviani (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): 4:48:59
2nd: Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates): same time as Viviani
3rd: Marcel Kittel (Team Katusha Alpecin): ”
13th: Mehdi Benhamouda: “