Kooij grabs second season victory in close sprint UAE Tour

Kooij grabs second season victory in close sprint UAE Tour

Olav Kooij has won the fifth stage of the UAE Tour. In the bunch sprint, the young Dutchman turned out to cross the finish line just a bit earlier than Tim Merlier after an extensive examination of the finish photo. It is the second win of 2024 for Kooij.

For the sprinters, Friday's stage meant the third chance for day's success. After the first two bunch sprints turned out to be a win for Belgian Merlier, Kooij, after a nerve-racking sprint, was able to claim victory. In the final meters Kooij came forward on the right side of the road. Just a fraction ahead of Merlier, he pushed his wheel over the line.

"It took a very long time before redemption came," Kooij described the moments right after the sprint. "I wasn't sure if I had won. However, the long wait did not diminish the relief. The field of competitors is very strong and everything has to go along to be able to compete for the win here at the UAE Tour. That was the case today. I was well in front at the last roundabout, because of the good work of the team. In the end, I squeezed into Mark Cavendish's wheel. A gap then opened up and I saw my chance."

"I wasn't sure if I had won"

Olav Kooij

The 22-year-old sprinter thus grabbed his second victory of the season, raising Team Visma | Lease a Bike's victory tally to three. "I rate this win highly. Not least because the competition here is also very strong. It is a very nice victory that gives me a lot of confidence towards the rest of my season. I'm pleased that I can now reward the work of the team. We came here for a stage win and we can now say that we succeeded," Kooij said.

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