Adam Yates promised he would bounce back in the UAE Tour with a vengeance on Sunday’s final summit finish of Jebel Hafeet, and the Briton duly did so in style, dropping race leader Remco Evenepoel and simultaneously clocking the fastest-ever ascent of the climb.
Yates was clocked at 25:53 for the punishing 10.7-kilometre ascent, four seconds faster than the record he and Tadej Pogačar jointly set for Jebel Hafeet back in 2021.
Pogačar won that day, but two years on, Yates repeated his 2020 triumph in the UAE Tour’s most emblematic climb.
Yates’ victory enabled him to scrape home onto the podium as well, ousting Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) by a single second to take third place overall. However, in what was a tight three-way battle for the runner-up spot behind overall winner Evenepoel, Yates was unable to take second place away from Luke Plapp, who finished just one second ahead.
Already racing without two times winner Pogačar, UAE Team Emirates collectively had a very difficult start to their home race when they were badly caught out in the crosswinds on stage 1.
But combined with Juan Sebastian Molano’s stage win on Thursday, as well as winning the team ranking, the home side managed to produce a notable comeback, with Yates bringing down the curtain in the best way possible.
“I said to somebody at the start of the day, we didn’t have anything to lose,” Yates told reporters afterwards.
“We were quite far down on GC and so if we tried something at the bottom and it didn’t work, then we could still fight for the [stage] win.
“The guys did an amazing job, we pushed full gas in the first 10 minutes or so, together with riders from the other teams, and it worked out well.”
With notable support from teammates Stake Vegard Langen and Brandon McNulty in particular, after UAE had shredded the field to perhaps a couple of dozen riders, Yates was in the perfect position to blast off.
“I attacked once, only Remco and Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) could follow, and then Remco had to pull because he was in the lead, and everyone else was dropped. Then I decided to attack one more time, and that was it,” Yates explained.
“When I attacked the second time, I knew it was the best moment because it was the steepest part of the climb, so that suited me the most.
“And then when you come round the corner, it flattens out a bit so I could hopefully get some rest. But there was a headwind,” he added with a chuckle, “so actually, there wasn’t…
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