Abu Dhabi Tour (st. 4)
Spaniard from Movistar Team completes excellent effort to stay in 8th overall before Sunday’s mountain showdown in Jebel Hafeet.
Australia’s Rohan Dennis (BMC) is the new GC leader in the 2018 Abu Dhabi Tour after a convincing win in the Al Maryah Island TT, over a 12.6km course where Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) again showed his excellent form on a course relatively short, yet 100% flat and not really suited to his characteristics.
The marvel from Murcia took 9th in the day, 27″ behind Dennis and within some of the world’s best specialists -even ahead of World champion Tom Dumoulin (SUN), affected by a costly mechanical-. Valverde remains in 8th place (+24″) of an overall classification still wide open, with ‘Bala’ only 8″ away from the GC podiuum and strong rivals, such as Dumoulin himself (9th, +31″) or QST’s Julian Alaphilippe (10th, +34″) really close to the Spaniard.
#RideToAbuDhabi Rohan Dennis (BMC) gana la CRI de Al Maryah, en la que @alejanvalverde termina 9º. El líder de Movistar Team es ahora octavo en la general, a 24" de Dennis y a 8" del podio. Mañana domingo, desenlace a lo grande con la subida a Jebel Hafeet. pic.twitter.com/lbpWu2Sh1l
— Movistar Team (@Movistar_Team) February 24, 2018
The race will tackle its decisive stage on Sunday, with the Jebel Hafeet crowning a long, 199km route starting near the foot of the ascent in Al Ain. The 11km uphill (6.6% average, 11% maximum gradient) will decide the outcome of an event where ‘Bala’ has always shown great strength and enjoyed full support from his Movistar team-mates.
Picture (c): BettiniPhoto.net