Sunday 25 February 2018 - 13:47

Abu Dhabi Tour: Alaphilippe climbs to fourth overall on the final day

Abu Dhabi Tour: Alaphilippe climbs to fourth overall on the final day

Following a successful outing at the Middle East race, which also saw Elia Viviani win the points jersey, Quick-Step Floors leads the World Tour team classification.

Lying tenth as he came into the fifth stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour (Qasr Al Muwaiji – Jebel Hafeet, 199 kilometers), Julian Alaphilippe made a significant jump in the general classification, finishing this edition of the race in fourth place and narrowly missing out on the podium for a mere two seconds.

The stage to Jebel Hafeet, a 10.8km climb averaging 6.6% but with some section reaching 11%, was an eventful and exciting one, as a nine-man group threatened to take the spoils after opening a huge 10-minute gap, which the peloton fought hard to bring down by the time they arrived at the foot of the ascent. There, once the attacks began firing away, the break's two-minute advantage went into air and the bunch began to split.

Julian Alaphilippe put in several digs and forced a selection, his strong charges distancing the red jersey wearer, among others. Only two riders responded initially, before four others managed to bridge across inside the final five kilometers. A cat and mouse game ensued, with several skirmishes between the favourites, before Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) eventually broke clear, with the latter taking both the win and the general classification at the fourth edition of the Abu Dhabi Tour.

Riding just his second race of the season, after Colombia Oro y Paz at the beginning of February, Julian rode with his heart and legs as he tried to limit the deficit and close the gap on the leading duo. Third at the top of the rough climb from a small group after opening his sprint in the final bend, Julian concluded the World Tour race in fourth position, a result which gave him mixed feelings.

"I wanted more today, the goal was to take the victory, but I lacked that extra something that would have helped me win. The climb was brutal in some sections and you could really feel the pain, but I tried to ignore it and do my best. Finishing outside the overall podium for two seconds is disappointing, but I'll try to look at the bright side of things, which is my current shape that is on an upward trajectory, and this makes me confident for Paris-Nice."

For the second time in his career, Elia Viviani won the green jersey here, and he did it in spectacular fashion, taking the victory on the second day of the race and finishing in the top 5 on the other stages suited to sprinters, thus confirming his excellent form and making of this start of the season his most successful since turning pro.

For the second time in his career, Elia Viviani won the green jersey here, and he did it in spectacular fashion, taking the victory on the second day of the race and finishing in the top 5 on the other stages suited to sprinters, thus confirming his excellent form and making of this start of the season his most successful since turning pro.

"I am very satisfied with my Abu Dhabi Tour and with the perfect lead-out I had from the guys this week. The team effort was outstanding, both on the flat and today for Julian. It's important that we kept the momentum going here and continued to add to Quick-Step Floors' remarkable tally this season. Let's just hope the coming races will be equally successful and we'll get many other beautiful victories", said Elia, who won his second points jersey of the year, after the one in the Dubai Tour, thus bringing an end to two successful weeks in the Middle East.

 

Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images





Keep up to date on our social media channel