Belgian Van Eetvelt hits the heights to claim UAE Tour

cycling25 February 2024 14:00| © AFP
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Lennert Van Eetvelt © Getty Images

Belgium's Lennert Van Eetvelt produced a dramatic summit finish on Jebel Hafeet to claim the final stage and overall victory in the UAE Tour on Sunday.

The 22-year-old Lotto rider powered clear around two kilometres from the line to take the 161km seventh stage by 22 seconds from Pello Bilbao and Ben O'Connor.

With a 10sec time bonus Van Eetvelt shot to the top of the overall standings, two seconds ahead of Australia's O'Connor, with Bilbao completing the podium.

O'Connor's compatriot, UAE Team Emirates' Jay Vine began the day in the lead but his hopes bit the dust in the closing climb.

"I was expecting a difficult stage," Van Eetvelt said, adding that he had been able to stay on the wheels of the leaders.

"Then when we began the climb I told myself I had to give my all.

"I couldn't be happier," beamed the rider who was adding this to a race win in Mallorca last month.

Van Eetvelt only turned professional last year, making his Grand Tour debut in the Vuelta a Espana where he came in 32nd overall.