Cycling News

Ben O’Connor pounces to victory on UAE Tour’s first summit finish

Ben O'Connor pounces to victory on UAE Tour's first summit finish

Wednesday was a mixed day for UAE-Team Emirates at the UAE Tour as pre-race favourite Adam Yates climbed off his bike on the lower slopes of Jebel Jais but Jay Vine took over the race lead. The day’s flowers went to Australian Ben O’Connor of Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale, who now trails Vine by 11 seconds. Sole Canadian participant Michael Leonard came in 121st.

The Course

Wednesday was all about Jebel Jais, 19 km of 5.6 percent at the end of 176 km.

Immediately after the start on Al Marjan Island two riders bounced away on a breakaway. Just after the 100 km to go mark, the winds picked up and echelons formed in the peloton. The split in the field created a group of 80 that sopped up the two fugitives. It took Bora-Hansgrohe 25 kilometres to sew up the split. Another breakaway duo escaped.

Yates crashed with a couple of others with 47 km remaining. He chased back on 5 kilometre later.

By the start of Jebel Jais, the peloton was all together. UAE-Emirates set the pace into a headwind and riders started to dribble off the back. Bora-Hansgrohe went to the front with 16 km to go.

Four klicks later, with UAE-Emirates back on the front, Einer Rubio of Movistar made the first dig but it didn’t reach the gold. With Rubio about to be lassoed, Yates retired from the race.

With 10.7 km to climb, Yates left the race.

UAE-Emirates and Ineos continued to streamline the peloton. Jan Hirt of Soudal-QuickStep was the next rider to dash away, but his bid for glory was snuffed out after a kilometre. Mikkel Bjerg of UAE-Emirates carried on grinding down the field before Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale took over. With 2 km to go, there were 30 riders intact.

Just before the red kite, O’Connor and teammate Valentin Paret-Peintre made their move.

O’Connor and Paret-Peintre attack before the red kite.

Paret-Peintre peeled off and O’Connor drove it home, Jay Vine coming in five seconds later. O’Connor has stage wins in the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia on his palmares, and Wednesday’s triumph was his second of the season in four days of racing.

There will be three days of sprints before the Jebel Hafeet grand finale…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Canadian Cycling Magazine…