One of the prominent images of the hilltop finish at Hatta Dam on stage 4 of the UAE Tour was Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) walking his bike across the line. Hatta Dam is painfully steep, with maximum gradients reaching 17 percent, but it was a mechanical problem that forced the Norwegian to make his way up on foot.
Kristoff received a knock to the back of his bike during a crash inside the final six kilometres, which also saw his teammate Fernando Gaviria crash.
He was able to continue though and was at the front of proceedings when the peloton hit the steepest part of the climb to Hatta Dam. However, when Kristoff tried to shift gears the movement ripped the damaged derailleur clean off and snapped his seatstay in the process. It is understood Kristoff was also stuck in his outer chainring.
In order to carry on the race, Kristoff had to make it to the line and so walked up the remaining 200 metres – not the easiest task in cleats. There were no spare bikes in the limited space at the top of the dam so the Norwegian then had to walk back down the 500 metres to where the team’s bus was parked.
Despite eventually crossing the line pushing his bike in 43rd position, Kristoff only lost five seconds to stage winner Caleb Ewan due to the mechanical occurring in the final three kilometres.
Kristoff will be able to continue the race, thanks to making it across the line, but he will be hoping for some better look as the race returns to the flat for stage 5.
Speaking on his Instagram account, Kristoff said: “A lot of sand on the road today in #uaetour I was involved in a crash 5-6km from the finish, my bike got banged up a bit and in the finish climb it broke unfortunately. Anyway used a lot of energy to get back in the pack last 5 km so would not been able to beat @calebewan today.”
— Frederick Dreier (@freddreier) February 27, 2019