Supreme Pogacar defends UAE Tour title

Slovenian Tadej Pogacar has won the UAE Tour for the second year in a row after outclassing his rivals on the seventh and final stage.

Already leading the GC standings after Friday’s racing, the Tour de France champion kept main rival Adam Yates on a leash on Saturday and sprinted clear in the final kilometre up the Jebel Hafeet climb.

Britain’s Yates finished second on the stage and second overall, 22 seconds back, while Spain’s Pello Bilbao was third.

The UAE Tour, the only UCI World Tour race in the Middle East, is seen as a gauge of early-season form, and Pogacar showed he will again be tough to stop this year.

“It’s always a pleasure to win at Jebel Hafeet, especially after such hard work from the team,” the UAE Team Emirates rider, who has won the stage three years in a row, said.

“At some point, Adam (Yates) went on the attack and it was one of the hardest attacks I’ve ever experienced.

“The UAE Tour is the first goal of the season for us. It’s our home race. From now on I’ll try to be in good shape for as long as possible.”

Australian Luke Plapp enjoyed an impressive performance on the final stage, eventually finishing fifth, 16 seconds behind Pogacar.

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