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TADEJ POGACAR added two seconds to his advantage over defending champion Adam Yates at the UAE Tour today as Jonas Vingegaard took stage-five victory.
The 170km test to the summit at Jebel Jais was Yates’s best hope of dislodging Tour de France champion Pogacar from the top of the general classification.
But the expected scrap between the leading protagonists never fully materialised on the 21.5km drag up to the finish.
Instead, the main group marked each other, with a late dig from Jumbo-Visma’s Vingegaard enough for the victory.
Pogacar crossed the line second, just in front of Yates, to snatch bonus seconds that increased his overall lead to 45 seconds.
With two flat stages remaining of the opening World Tour race of the season, it would likely take an incident — or a repeat of the opening stage crosswinds — to deny Pogacar victory in the home race for his UAE Team Emirates squad.
But Yates, making his debut for the Ineos Grenadiers, will feel confident of keeping his second place with a 27-second advantage over Deceuninck-QuickStep’s Joao Almeida.
Brit Chris Froome, continuing his rehabilitation in his debut for Israel Start-up Nation, rode in one minute and 42 seconds behind the leaders after helping teammate Ben Hermans.
“In the final there I was trying to hang on in the bunch for as long as possible and use it as preparation for upcoming races and to test myself a little bit, as well as positioning Ben for the final,” Froome said, adding that he feels “better and better as the race goes on.”
“Definitely I need more of these sort of stage races but step by step, things are coming together for me,” he said.
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