Al Marjan Island > Umm al Quwain 170.3km
Another boring day ahead. It should be a sprint and everyone will spend the day just waiting for the final 5km.
Another hot one with temperatures close to 30 degrees. There is a lot of crosswind throughout the stage, and exposed roads, but with the wind only hitting 17km/h, it’s unlikely to split.
The final straight is basically 5km long, with just a couple of roundabouts to negotiate. The big difference compared to stage 4 is the width of the road, it is much narrower. This will bring more order to the peloton, and the sprint finish should be more structured, but still hard to get right.
It’s all about timing your move to the front. As we witnessed today, big sprints like this are hard to get right, only one rider can take the win. We have a large number of sprinters, and sprint trains, who can all do a good sprint, especially after an easy day in the saddle. The relatively narrow finish increases the chances of getting boxed in, teams need some luck to get it right. Just like today, it’s another headwind sprint, which makes life harder for all concerned.
Tim Merlier – was forced into launching a bit on the early side today, but at least he was in the mix. Merlier doesn’t mind a messy sprint, he’s good at surfing the wheels and popping up when it matters. With just Van Lerberghe as a proper lead out, winning is going to be hard, but the headwind should help him.
Caleb Ewan – not great today, but the same can be said for most sprinters. As the sprint train gets used to working with each other, it could take a little while for things to click. A win at this race would be a bonus.
Dylan Groenewegen – looked to be carrying a lot of speed in today’s finish, but the gap just wouldn’t open up for him. He’s got an excellent sprint train to support him in this race, and given how he looked today, he’s one of the men to beat.
Sam Welsford – Gaviria’s move forced him into launching earlier than he would have wanted today. Considering the headwind, he hung on very well and should be pleased with his 3rd place. The Aussie is one of the fastest here, he’ll hope to challenge for the win.
Sam Bennett – the sprint train didn’t work today, they were too far back in the final 3km. Bennett didn’t get the chance to test his legs, but van Poppel was looking good. The key for them is to not leave it too late, a better position is required for the turn with 5km to go.
Olav Kooij – there’s so much to like about him, and he seems to enjoy a messy finish. His sprint train is decent, but there are better in the race. He’ll hope to be fighting for the win.
Juan Molano – I didn’t bother mentioning him in my preview, and he goes and wins. The Colombian is always capable of pulling a result out the bag, two in a row would be incredible considering the sprinters at this race.
I liked what I saw today, it’s a win for Dylan Groenewegen.