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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 26 March 2019

UAE Tour 2019: Primoz Roglic seals overall victory as Sam Bennett wins Stage 7

Inaugural race comes to an end in Dubai with Slovenian victor having held the red jersey for all seven stages

Primoz Roglic celebrates winning the inaugural UAE Tour. AFP
Primoz Roglic celebrates winning the inaugural UAE Tour. AFP

Sam Bennett was first across the line to win Stage 7 as the inaugural UAE Tour drew to a close in Dubai on Saturday, but it was Primoz Roglic with the most reason to be satisfied.

The Jumbo-Visma rider finished in the pack and the result ensured the Slovenian was crowned the Tour's first champion.

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.”

Roglic has won stages on the Tour de France the past two years and he is pleased to have made an instant impact with Dutch team Jumbo-Visma, who he joined over the winter from LottoNL-Jumbo.

“It’s my first race and it’s really nice to start like that,” he added. “We did some big work here.”

Roglic's winning margin was 31 seconds from Alejandro Valverde, who had the consolation of being the victor on Stage 3 at Jebel Hafeet on Tuesday, with David Gaudu, who won the white jersey for best young rider, taking third place.

Sam Bennett celebrates winning Stage 7. EPA
Sam Bennett celebrates winning Stage 7. EPA

At the front of the field it was a race to the line on the aptly named Sprint Stage and it was Bennett of Bora-Hansgrohe who prevailed, denying Fernando Gaviria of UAE Team Emirates a second stage win after the Colombian won a thrilling Stage 2 finish under the Big Flag at the Abu Dhabi Breakwater.

“I needed that,” Irishman Bennett said. “The team did a fantastic job again. I tried to fight for Gaviria's wheel. Today I had the legs to finish it off.

“I knew if you could get a win here with all the top sprinters, it means you are not so bad. This is good for my confidence. I'm looking forward to the other nice races coming up.”

Gaviria said: “I tried to be covered until the final metres but as soon as I started my sprint I realised that Bennett was stronger than me. The team did a great job for me again so I want to thank them for all their support this week.”

Gaviria’s teammate, Alexander Kristoff, added: “We had to work really hard to move up the bunch and pass a lot of other riders, which meant Fernando had to use a lot of energy to stay on my wheel.

“We had good speed, but Bennett managed to take Fernando’s wheel and got the same lead out benefits as him. I think in final metres he was just stronger.”

Irishman Dan Martin was the best of the UAE Team Emirates riders, finishing seventh overall, 1 minute, 11 seconds adrift of Roglic in the final standings.

In the other competitions within the race, Deceuninck-Quick Step rider Elia Viviani, who won Stage 5, won the general points competition, ahead of Gaviria and Stepan Kuriyanov.

The intermediate sprint category went to Kuriyanov, the Gazprom-Rusvelo rider, ahead of Charles Planet and William Clarke.

Updated: March 2, 2019 07:37 PM

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