Rudy Barbier cracked the top five in the bunch sprint on stage five at UAE Tour after a textbook lead out in the chaotic bunch sprint.
After twice finishing 11th in the first two sprints, Barbier found his groove today after Israel – Premier Tech hit the front of the bunch in the final three kilometers. Barbier stayed protected at the back of the train with his IPT teammates never once conceding their spot at the front of the race.
Daryl Impey and Alex Dowsett dug deep at the front of the train approaching the flamme rouge and after rounding the last corner on the inside, Taj Jones took over before Rick Zabel did the final lead out on the home stretch. With 200 meters to go, Barbier jumped from Zabel’s wheel and onto the wheel of eventual winner Jasper Philipsen before crossing the line in fifth place.
“I am happy with the work we did as a team today. The first two sprints were really the first times we sprinted all together with this group at a race. We practiced at training camp but this week is the first time in race conditions, and at a WorldTour race where all of the tops sprinters are here. There is really no one missing here,” said Barbier.
“We used the first two sprints to try things out and take some confidence and today, everything went well and came together. I am happy with the guys and the work that was done. Not just with the riders but also the staff because it’s so hot here so it’s important to have regular feed zones and everything organized. I was fifth today, I did a good sprint, and I know I’m in shape. I hope for more tomorrow as that will really be the last chance for the sprint.”
Tomorrow’s another day and given practice makes perfect, the guys are making the most of every sprint opportunity at the race.