Attacks started as soon as the flag dropped with a five-rider breakaway initially able to open up an advantage of over five minutes before the peloton, keen to once again keep control of the race, pulled the gap back to 3’40” with 150 kilometers, of the 181-kilometer course, to go.
Crosswinds in the desert once again threatened to split the peloton, but CCC Team remained vigilant, holding their position up near the front of the bunch to protect the interests of Mareczko in the bunch sprint, and to safeguard De La Parte’s position on the General Classification.
As the peloton went over the top of the uphill drag that led into the final 70 kilometers of the stage, the gap was sitting at just over the two-minute mark, and the early leaders were caught another 40 kilometers later.
The battle for position began approaching the 10-kilometer to go mark with CCC Team working hard to keep Mareczko well-placed as the speed started to intensify going onto a short climb that had the ability to thin out the field.
In the end, the bunch was still all together going under the flamme rouge, and despite a hectic and nervous run-in, Mareczko was still sitting alongside teammate Patrick Bevin when the sprint was finally launched.
It looked like Mareczko would be blocked in at one point, but the Italian sprinter showed his strength and speed, as well as his bike-handling skills when he moved up through the bunch before crossing the line eighth behind Elia Viviani (Deceuninck – Quick-Step).
Behind him, Victor De La Parte crossed the line safely to maintain eighth overall on the General Classification, 1’12” behind Primož Roglič (Team Jumbo-Visma), going into stage six and the summit finish up Jebel Jais tomorrow.
Quotes From the Finish Line
“At the beginning of the stage, we were able to stay relaxed in the peloton. It wasn’t until the breakaway was caught that the chaos and the real battle began.”
“The team worked well together all day though especially when there was the chance of crosswinds in the desert. They kept me well-positioned up at the front of the bunch.”
“Then, in the final, it was really hectic. We had all seven guys sitting up at the front of the bunch but with all of the other sprinters’ teams fighting for the same position, it was tough to stay up there.”
“In the end, I was in a good position but not the best, when the sprint was launched. At one moment, I was boxed in a little but I was able to move around the rider in front of me and still sprint to eighth on the line. Just like on stage two, it is a nice result when you look at the riders racing here but I am still motivated for more.”
Stage 5: Sharjah – Flag Island > Khor Fakkan (181km)
Top 3: 1. Elia Viviani (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) 2. Fernando Gaviria (UAE-Team Emirates) 3. Marcel Kittel (Team Katusha – Alpecin)
CCC Team Top 3: 8. Jakub Mareczko 17. Patrick Bevin 47. Victor De La Parte