The UAE Tour ended on Saturday with a seventh stage finishing at the top of Jebel Hafeet, where Tadej Pogacar got the win and secured the overall. Beforehand, Clément Davy was part of the day’s breakaway and stayed in the front until the first slopes of the final climb. Matteo Badilatti then took over for Groupama-FDJ and grabbed a solid 17th place on the line. The Swiss man and Arnaud Démare’s lead-out train can now look forward to their goals in Europe.
After the breakaway stayed away from the bunch and the sprinters on stage 6, the start of the last day of racing was livelier than usual on Saturday, despite a big final climb on the menu. The Groupama-FDJ cycling team was particularly vigilant at the start. “The guys were motivated to go in the break because with the racing ending tonight, it was also important to put in some good efforts”, said Sébastien Joly. “It was the first time since the start of the race that many guys wanted to go up front, so it took us some time to go”, testified Clément Davy, who finally went away with Gianni Vermeersch (Alpecin-Fenix), Daryl Impey (Israel-Premier Tech), Michael Schwarzmann (Lotto Soudal), Michael Mørkøv (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Kaden Groves (BikeExchange-Jayco) and Joris Nieuwenhuis (Team DSM). “Once we got away, we kept going at a good pace”, continued Clément. “We rode at an average of 50 km/h in the first hour. I didn’t have great legs today, so I made the most of what I had. I once again played cat and mouse, but for once I was the mouse.” However, the cat was determined not to give the leading men too much of a lead on Saturday. The gap was constantly kept between two and three minutes, and the fugitives did not therefore have much hope about today’s success.
“These efforts will be useful”, Clément Davy
Following a new acceleration approaching the final climb, the bunch even came back just a minute away from the Frenchman and his break’s colleagues. “I’m happy with the way I handled the bottom of the climb, because it’s never easy to go from 140 kilometres all flat to a climb of ten kilometres”, added the young man. ”I am very happy with this first breakaway experience, these good efforts will surely be useful for the future”. Clément Davy was caught about eight kilometres from the summit by quite a fast bunch, in which Matteo Badilatti tried to keep his place as long as possible. Due to the battle between the favourites, the Swiss climber was distanced five kilometres from the line, but there were already not so many riders left. He also made a better finish than some others in order to cross the line in seventeenth position, 1’30 behind the winner Tadej Pogacar. “The guys worked really well for Matteo to position him well at the bottom of the climb, which allowed him to be in good conditions”, added Sébastien. “His twenty-third place overall is not so important, but regarding the stage, there is a progression compared to the last summit finish, he felt better. We are happy for him from this point of view, and it’s promising for the coming weeks. The others took their own pace to finish this UAE Tour in a way. Tomorrow, we head back to Europe!”.