2024 UAE Tour – Stage 4 Race Report

How the race finished

Amber Kraak (FDJ-Suez) held off the sprinting peloton in a nail biting finish to win the final stage of the UAE Tour. Lorena Wiebes (SD Worx-Protime) and Daria Pikulik (Human Powered Health) led the bunch home. Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx-Protime) sealed the overall victory ahead of Neve Bradbury (Canyon//Sram Racing) and Mavi Garcia (Liv Alula Jayco).

Full results are available below.

 

How it happened

The fourth and final stage of the UAE Tour returned to the flatlands, covering 104.9km from Louvre Abu Dhabi to the Abu Dhabi Breakwater. The riders set out on wet roads, but the wind didn’t seem to be blowing strongly enough to cause any major crosswind action.

With the first ten kilometres behind them, a flurry of attacks began from teams interested in a breakaway. Fenix Deceuninck, St Michel-Mavic-Auber 93, and Human Powered Health were all active, but nothing was established. A little further down the road Sophie Wright (Fenix Deceuninck) got a small gap on the peloton, and was joined by Monica Greenwood (Team Coop Repsol) and Margarita Misyurina (Tashkent City Women Professional Cycling Team). With the bunch seeming happy enough to let this group go clear, Amber Kraak (FDJ-Suez) also jumped across to make it a quartet up front. 

At 80km to go the breakaway had established a nice rhythm together, but held only a modest lead of under one minute. Behind, some teams were pushing the pace into any narrowings or roundabouts, perhaps not wanting to be caught out further back by crashes, in the damp conditions. The first intermediate sprint came at 75km to go, and was contested by Greenwood (Coop-Repsol) and Wright (Fenix Deceuninck) in the breakaway. 

With the pace slowing the peloton, two riders from Top Girls Fassa Bortolo took the opportunity to attack. Shadowed by an SD Worx-Protime rider, and with the breakaway now some two minutes up the road, they quickly faded back into the peloton. 

At 50km to go the gap hovered around 3 minutes and then began to slowly tick down. SD Worx-Protime took up station at the front to control the gap. Liv Alula Jayco were also present up the front, protecting Garcia’s podium position and eying up another sprint finish opportunity. 

The second intermediate sprint of the day came at 30km to go, with Greenwood taking the points ahead of Wright in the breakaway. Misyurina looked to be tiring, and for a short time the cooperation between the breakaway riders was affected, before she dropped off the pace altogether. Kraak began doing some big turns on the front, with Greenwood and Wright working well too.  

At 17 kilometres to the finish line, the breakaway still led by two minutes. While other teams had done the right thing in looking to SD Worx-Protime to lead the chase, if they wanted to contest a sprint, now was the time to get involved. With the tactical nous of top level coach Greenwood and the engine of Kraak up the road, the breakaway suddenly looked very hard to catch.

At 10 kilometres to go the breakaway still held a minute and twenty second. UAE Team ADQ began to help the chase. Up front, Greenwood began to struggle, missing a turn. As their lead dropped under a minute Kraak launched a huge attach, trying to distance her breakaway companions. Wright was able to follow, but for Greenwood, it was too much. 

At 5.8km to go Kraak attacked again, this time moving clear of Wright – who clearly still had gas in the legs but just wasn’t quite able to follow. With around a 50 second margin, Kraak had a lot of work ahead of her to stay clear alone.

At 3 kilometres to the line SD Worx-Protime had pulled it back to 36 seconds, but they were done on the front. Dsm-firmenich Post NL and Uno-X Mobility took over the chase. The seconds continued to fall, but at the 1km to go mark Kraak was holding her own out front, with an 18 second lead.

Despite the high speed of the bunch, Carina Schrempf (Fenix Deceuninck) took her chances off the front, setting off solo in pursuit of Kraak who was now visible in the barriers ahead. A big crash in the bunch spelled an uncomfortable end to the race for a number of riders. Race leader Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx-Protime) put in a huge turn in the closing metres to launch Wiebes, who, despite her speed, was just a few metres short of catching Kraak on the line. Daria Pikulia (Human Powered Health) sprinted strongly to take third place on the day.

Stage Results

 

Overall Results

Results powered by FirstCycling.com

 

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