Drucker Sprints to Fourth as BMC Racing Team win Team Classification in Dubai10. February 2018, Dubai (UAE) — Road Team
The fifth and final stage of the Dubai Tour saw the peloton racing through the heart of the city with Jempy Drucker sprinting to fourth on the line, Nathan Van Hooydonck finishing as BMC Racing Team's top-placed rider in fourth overall, and the team winning the Team Classification.
The battle to form the day's breakaway began as soon as the race hit KM 0, with a number of attacks, including moves from Van Hooydonck and Loïc Vliegen, flying off the front of the bunch. However, it took just over 20km, of the 132km course, for the action to settle down, allowing a four-rider group the chance to go clear.
After reaching a maximum of almost five minutes, the advantage of the breakaway began to fall heading into the second half of the stage with the peloton pulling the leaders back to inside two minutes with 30km to go, as the race began to gear up for a fast and furious grandstand finale.
As the last remaining rider from the day's breakaway was being pulled back approaching the final 10km of the day, two riders tried their luck at the front of the race. However, the sprinters were not going to be denied their chance to go for the day's honors and soon a fierce battle for position began with BMC Racing Team moving up to the front of the bunch before the peloton headed under the flamme rouge at full speed.
A crash on the corner before the finishing straight saw riders spread out all across the road as the final sprint was launched. Drucker was well-positioned and showed his strength by powering towards the line before eventually crossing in fourth place behind the stage winner, and overall race leader, Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors).
Despite being caught behind the late crash, Van Hooydonck crossed the line safely to secure fourth overall on the General Classification, 17 seconds behind Viviani. While, Vliegen and Drucker also finished inside the top ten, securing fifth and eighth place respectively and helping to seal victory for BMC Racing Team in the Team Classification after a solid week of racing from all seven riders.
Quotes From the Finish Line
"I knew the finish from last year, so I knew the final corner, and I could tell from the speed that we were entering it that there could be a crash. So, I decided to stay on the inside and in the end, I found myself in fourth positon. I launched my sprint with 200m to go but, there was a slight headwind, and in the end, three other guys were able to pass me."
"This has been a good first week of racing for me. It is always good to get into the race rhythm, and my shape seems good heading to Oman. We will have different priorities there, and the parcours is more hilly, but I think for me that will be a good way to fine-tune ahead of the next part of the season."
Nathan Van Hooydonck:
"There was a crash in the last corner, and I got caught behind that which was a bit of a shame. However, overall at this race, I have been feeling good, and I think that I have been able to show that my form is good for this early part of the season. There are a lot of positives to take away from this race, and I was happy to finish fourth overall. I think it is a good indication of how the rest of the season will go. Now, I am looking forward to heading to Oman and working for the team."
"I am a bit disappointed about the crash as I was just behind it and I had to put my feet on the ground to avoid it. But, for me, the most important thing at this race was that I showed that I am in a good condition. There is still room for improvement, but I think it has been a good start to the year and I can only build on my performance from here."
Stage 5: Skydive Dubai > City Walk, 132km
Top 3: 1. Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) 2. Marco Haller (Team Katusha - Alpecin) 3. Adam Blythe (Aqua Blue Sport)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 4. Jempy Drucker 17. Nicolas Roche 18. Nathan Van Hooydonck
BMC Racing Team Top 3 on GC: 4. Nathan Van Hooydonck 5. Loïc Vliegen 8. Jempy Drucker