Primoz Roglic seals overall victory at the UAE Tour
Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe) sprinted to victory in the final stage of the inaugural UAE Tour with Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) claiming the overall title
The 29 year old had taken the leaders’ red jersey after he and his teammates won the first of the seven stages – a team time trial – last Sunday.
It was a position he would not relinquish, with Roglic effectively securing the title on Friday’s penultimate stage when he triumphed at Jebel Jais.
“As a team we finished the job the same way we started,” Roglic said. “We showed again that we are a very strong team. It’s nice to have started with a team time trial victory and kept the jersey till the end."
“As my first race of the year it’s great to begin with a stage race victory. Results show that we’re ready for a promising season.”
After a breakthrough 12 months, it can be easy to forget how recently Roglic took up the sport, after initially starting his sporting career as a ski jumper.
"I just started in 2012, riding the bikes. Sometimes it seems that goes really quickly and easy but, for sure, it didn’t feel like that for me because it was a really hard start and now I'm really grateful to be in the position that I'm in," Roglic said.
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) finished second overall behind Roglic, with young Frenchman David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) third.
In the last stage, Bennett edged out Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), who came second and third respectively in a headwind-afflicted sprint.
Demise of Sprint Kings?
Though many of those big names in attendance may not have been here anywhere near their best, the rise of a new wave of sprinting sensations has muddied the waters in terms of possible future success for some of cycling’s greats.
Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish are among the greatest sprinters to ever live. Only the great Eddy Merckx has won more stages at the Tour de France (34) than the Manx Missile’s 30, while German Kittel has 14.
Yet, Cavendish hasn’t tasted victory since Stage 3 of the Dubai Tour a year ago, while Kittel – who has just two wins since a big move to Katusha-Alpecin last year – is also struggling.
With Viviani and Peter Sagan thriving and the likes of Fernando Gaviria and Caleb Ewan on the rise, this famed duo are in danger of being left behind.
Where was Nibali?
Speaking of fading forces – a dangerous term to use when speaking of cycling legends – veteran Italian Nibali is also searching for his best form.
The man known as The Shark won a much-coveted maiden Milan San-Remo title in his homeland last year, so talk of him being past his best is shallow. But he finished 35th in the UAE, 7:27 adrift of winner Roglic. And, at 34, time is no longer on his side.
VIDEO: 2019 UAE Tour Stage 7 Highlights
2019 UAE Tour Final General Classification Top 10
1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 26:27:29
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:31
3 David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:44
4 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:56
5 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:01:04
6 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:01:08
7 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:11
8 James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:01:29
9 Laurens De Plus (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:01:45
10 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 0:01:49