• Israeli road race champion represents ISN in breakaway
  • Dowsett impresses upfront
  • ‘Happy’ Froome shows consistent improvement
  • Hermans ninth: ‘Good – I wanted top-10’

Great performances by Israel Start-Up Nation on multiple terrains in stage 5 of the UAE Tour. Belgian GC-contender Ben Hermans found himself finishing ninth after a long final climb, while Chris Froome showed that he is improving with every stage. Dowsett bridged a gap from the peloton to the front group, where he found Omer Goldstein; Goldstein held on to his lead until fifteen kilometers from the finish.

After 50 kilometers, Goldstein and his break-away companions broke away from the pack. “That was exactly according to plan,” Goldstein said after the stage.

Dowsett added that he saw Goldstein up the road, and he took the chance to go across in a short downhill. “Then we were together and I started working for Omer, as he is obviously a better climber.”

The Israeli road race champion commented that it was the perfect situation to be with Dowsett in the break.

Unfortunately, Dowsett said, the peloton kept the front group on a ‘tight leash’. Dowsett: “I think that was a testament to how strong the breakaway was. Also, Omer was very strong today, and the finish suited him well.”

The man with the Star of David on his shirt tried his luck and followed the front as long as he could: “Just like during the first day when I was in the first echelon.”

He was the second-last rider to drop from Astana-rider Lutsenko, who nearly held on until the finish. “I am happy with my performance today,” Goldstein stated.

When he got caught, it was up to Ben Hermans and Chris Froome, ISN’s climbers who were still in the peloton.

Froome showed consistent progress on today’s final climb. He seems to be improving with every stage, and today Froome helped Hermans for a long time.

After the race he said he was happy with his performance. Froome: “It was a good test for me, and I am happy that I could help Ben positioning well.”

“I am feeling better each day. I surely need a few more stage races like this. I hope that slowly things are coming together for me,” Froome said.

Hermans was ISN’s top finisher on Jebel Jais. He finished in the group of favorites and got himself a ninth-place finish.

The Belgian GC-contender was also satisfied after the race. “I was planning to go in the breakaway, especially if there would be a big group going, but there was a lot of headwind and several teams were controlling heavily.”

He found it a great situation to see Goldstein and Dowsett in the break and decided to stay in the peloton himself. “On the final climb it was difficult to break away, so I stayed in between the wheels until the last kilometer.”

Hermans concluded: “I wanted to get a top-10 in a stage or in the GC, and it worked out today. I am happy with that.”

Pics: Bettini Photo.