Crash in Opening Kilometers Redefines Stage 6 of UAE Tour
01 March 2019
Race: UAE Tour, Stage 6
Start/Finish: Ajman/Jebel Jais, United Arab Emirates
Distance: 180 kilometers
Jebel Jais, UAE — A sizeable crash immediately following the neutral start on Stage 6 of the UAE Tour threw off Team Novo Nordisk’s plan to place Charles Planet in the breakaway for the fifth consecutive day. Despite this unexpected twist, Planet remains second overall in the Abu Dhabi Aviation intermediate sprint jersey classification and will wear the black jersey again on the final stage of the seven-day race.
After a few rainstorms passed through the area in the morning, water on the roads made for a nervous bunch at the start of Friday’s 180-kilometer stage. As racing got going, approximately 40 riders crashed including Team Novo Nordisk’s Sam Brand and Fabio Calabria. Both hit the ground with Calabria requiring a bike change, but both returned to the peloton without issue.
During the chaos, Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal) attacked solo. Team Novo Nordisk organized and tried to get Planet off the front, but the peloton was not willing to let any riders free. Eventually, a group of World Tour riders including Elia Viviani (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) escaped and bridged up to Hansen. Viviani was on the hunt for sprint points and won both intermediate sprints on the day.
Throughout the day, Team Novo Nordisk protected Peter Kusztor and placed him in the front group as the race hit the base of the final 20 km climb. The Hungarian rider finished strong in the first 50 riders up the lengthy climb.
Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team, continues racing at the UAE Tour on Saturday. The final stage will be a sprint race through the streets of Dubai. The stage starts at Dubai Safari Park before a fast finish on the wide Jumeirah Road leading into City Walk.
“The plan today was to get Charles up the road so he could grab more points and hopefully take the jersey. It was quite windy, and we reached Kilometer 0 and attacks were going left, right and center. There were a lot of teams that wanted to put a rider there. When we didn’t make the break, it was tough to regroup because we went in aggressively. We changed tactics and plans and then worked for Peter in the final climb.”
1st: Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma): 4:15:39
2nd: Tom Domoulin (Team Sunweb): same time as Roglic
3rd: David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ): same time as Roglic