The first of the UAE Tour’s two summit finishes ended with the victory of Tadej Pogacar this Wednesday. On the very long climb of Jebel Jais, Matteo Badilatti managed to stay in the main peloton for a very long time before being a bit distanced three kilometres from the line. The Swiss climber eventually took 24th position as another bunch sprint awaits Arnaud Démare and his teammates tomorrow.

In order to reach the summit of Jebel Jais, located on the border between the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman, the bunch headed north through a relatively flat course up until the bottom of the day’s main obstacle. The approach therefore proved quite easy, especially since only two riders were willing to go up front on this stage: Jakob Egholm (Trek-Segafredo) and Luca Rastelli (Bardiani-CSF -Faizane). The peloton did not worry about the duo for some time as they were even granted an eight-minute lead at best. This gap gradually reduced with the leader Stefan Bissegger’s team taking charge of the chase. After one hundred and sixty kilometres in full control, the bunch eventually tackled the final twenty kilometres of climbing just one minute behind the day’s fugitives. The leader’s teammates kept going by setting a decent pace on the first slopes, before the UAE Team Emirates took over to make the race harder for Tadej Pogacar. The peloton quickly reduced and Matteo Badilatti was soon the only member of the Groupama-FDJ’s cycling team left in there.

“I missed some power”, Matteo Badilatti

Although he spent most of the time fighting in the back of the bunch, the Swiss climber managed to hold the wheels for quite a long time. He was eventually distanced just three kilometres away from the summit following a split in the middle of the group. Slovenian Tadej Pogacar took victory in a sprint as the Swiss crossed the line forty-four seconds later in twenty-fourth position. “The guys worked well to position Matteo at the bottom, but he did not have a very good day,” said Sébastien Joly. “I’m not really satisfied with my climb, I missed some power”, added Matteo. “I had to do my own tempo, I’m sorry that I couldn’t do better but that’s how it is. I’m still recovering from sickness. Still, it was a great day on the bike and I want to thank the team who helped me a lot and positioned me well today. I’m really enjoying being part of the sprinters’ group and it is very fun to ride with them. Now, I hope that we will have good chances with Arnaud over the next few days”.

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