João Almeida remains third in the general classification ahead of the second summit finish.
Sam Bennett was in a league of his own Wednesday afternoon, capturing his first victory of the year after showing a clean pair of wheels to his opponents at the end of the longest stage of the UAE Tour, which started and concluded on the Al Marjan Island, lasting 204 kilometres and almost five hours in the saddle.
For the 30-year-old Irishman it was the first bunch sprint of the season, and the Tour de France green jersey winner benefitted from a perfectly executed lead-out train to navigate what turned out to be a chaotic finale. Piloted by Michael Mørkøv, who used his vast experience to bring him in position with 200 meters to go, Sam took the left side of the road and burst clear of the field, rolling across the line with a comfortable gap on the riders rounding out the podium.
“I was a little frustrated missing the sprint on the first stage and I knew there were only three more opportunities, so I was really motivated today. At the same time, I was pretty nervous, because it was the first bunch sprint of the season for myself and you never know what’s your condition coming out of the winter”, Sam explained shortly after his first win in two years at the UAE Tour.
The victory he got on stage 4 marked a significant milestone for Bennett, who now has 50 wins in the pro ranks, a number which puts him behind only Sean Kelly on a list of the most successful Irish riders in history.
“Having the team do such a great job you just want to bring the victory. I knew all I had to do was follow the guys, who made my job easier, and with my legs good in the end I was able to do the sprint I wanted. It was a messy finale, but I made it thanks to this amazing Wolfpack, who controlled the stage and then delivered me in the perfect position! I am proud to score my 50th victory here! It was a long, hot stage, but it now feels great to get the first bunch sprint of the year out of the way. It’s a perfect way to start the season”, Sam added.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step teammate João Almeida enjoyed a quieter day and remained on the UAE Tour overall podium ahead of Jebel Jais, the race’s last mountain test.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/Getty Images