Race report

Florian Stork impresses with 7th place on Jebel Hafeet

UAE Tour

With a sprint stage and a time trial behind them, today the climbers got a chance to test themselves on the now traditional finish climb of Jebel Hafeet and its 10 kilometre long slope with seven percent gradients. There was an air of trepidation though as the bunch left the start line and rolled out for the stage, with another day of potential crosswind threats out in the desert.

The opening 70 kilometres were into a headwind, with a two-rider breakaway soldiering on and building up an advantage that reached almost seven minutes at one point. The gap soon started to fall as the peloton entered the second half of the stage and a change of direction that loomed in the distance, with riders fighting for position before the potential crosswinds. Yet, nothing materialised and the bunch remained together as they approached Jebel Hafeet, eventually catching the breakaway on its lower slopes. The team’s sprint group did a good job of protecting the team’s trio of climbers – Florian Stork, Mark Donovan and Thymen Arensman – keeping them safe and positioning them well going onto the climb.

An infernal pace was set at the head of the race and riders dropped from the peloton in their droves as the searing UAE heat took its toll on many. Stork was the last Team DSM rider in the bunch, impressing many as he dug deep and moved past those going backwards. Producing a stellar ride, Stork fought all the way to the line with some elite climbers, claiming a brilliant seventh place for the team at the finish; his first ever World Tour top ten.

Photo Credit: Cor Vos

“The guys did a good job for Thymen, Mark and I all day long,” explained Stork at the finish. “They kept us out of the wind, got bottles for us and protected us so we all started the climb in a good position. I just had super good legs today to hang on for as long as possible and I’m really proud of my first WorldTour top ten finish, and to get a nice result for the guys.”

Team DSM coach Luke Roberts added: “Today we had the first mountain top finish of the race with the climb of Jebel Hafeet. It’s a climb that’s familiar to us having done it in previous editions of the UAE Tour. Our goal was to protect our climbers; Thymen, Mark and Florian, and get them into a good position for the climb so they could test their legs today. Mark and Thymen suffered a bit, it was quite a warm day, but it was really nice to see Florian had a great effort up there. He’s familiar with the climb from last year and it was great to see him fighting up there with the top ten with a nice seventh place; it’s a credit to him and the level that he’s come with to this race.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 POGAČAR Tadej UAE-Team Emirates 3:58:35 40
2 YATES Adam INEOS Grenadiers ,, 15
3 HIGUITA Sergio EF Education - Nippo 0:48 6
7 STORK Florian Team DSM 0:54 -
46 DONOVAN Mark Team DSM 5:16 -
49 ARENSMAN Thymen Team DSM 6:56 -
63 ARNDT Nikias Team DSM 10:37 -
109 KRAGH ANDERSEN Asbjørn Team DSM 16:05 -
115 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM ,, -
130 BOL Cees Team DSM 19:55 -