Sam Bennett came close to winning the penultimate stage of the UAE Tour on Saturday, narrowly missing the sprinter’s last chance.
The Bora-hansgrohe rider was perfectly set up by his team-mate and appeared to be in the ideal position to make his way in the final 500m of the stage towards the Abu Dhabi breakwater, but when Tim Merlier (Soudal-QuickStep) took the lead Lost advantage.
The Belgian caught Bennett off guard with such speed that he was caught off guard and immediately pulled him a few meters away. Bennett closed in on Merlier and was close to passing him, but he went out of the way and had to settle for second.
However, the quality of his sprint was reflected in the huge gap between him and the rest of the riders behind him, with Friday’s stage winner Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco AlUla) being knocked out. Bennett may regret not starting his sprint two or three seconds earlier.
He finished third on Friday’s stage, and while he’ll be upset not to take the stage win in the race, he’s clearly in strong form. He lost his win this week because of position and tactical timing, not a lack of leg speed.
The WorldTour ends on Sunday at Jebel Hafeet Uphill. World road race champion Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) remains in the lead and appears to be on track for the overall title.
Meanwhile, Lara Gillespie and Alice Sharp finished ninth in the UCI Athletics Nations Cup Women’s Madison on Saturday in Jakarta, Indonesia. Danish drivers Amelie Dideriksen and Julie Leth won the race.
Gillespie and Sharpe were part of a team of four women’s Irish chase this week who broke their own national record twice and finished fifth in the race.