Mathias Vacek brings youth and bravery to unexpected triumph at Expo 2020 Dubai Stage

25 Feb 2022

19 year old from Czech Republic wins from 5-man breakaway. Pogacar keeps the lead ahead of tomorrow’s summit finish atop Jebel Hafeet, the final stage of the UAE Tour. Today’s stage video highlights are available to download below (digital media only / NO broadcast)

(Photo Credit: Yasser Abras)

Expo 2020 Dubai, 25 February 2022 – For the first time in the history of the UAE Tour and its predecessors Dubai Tour and Abu Dhabi Tour, a stage winner emerged from a small breakaway group on a flat stage. Czech rider Mathias Vacek, 19, became the youngest ever cyclist to triumph in this event. He rode away from the peloton from the off, along with his teammates Pavel Kotchekov and Dmitrii Strakhov, as well as Paul Lapeira and Alessandro Tonelli. The peloton reacted too late and never managed to catch the group before they reached the site of the Expo 2020 Dubai, where the riders were welcomed with style. It was a big disappointment for the sprinters, but not for Tadej Pogacar, who crossed the line safely, ahead of the queen stage to Jebel Hafeet tomorrow – the final stage of the UAE Tour.

H.E. Aref Al Awani, General Secretary Abu Dhabi Sports Council, H.E. Osama Ahmed Abdullah Al Shafar, UCI Vice-President, Ahmed Al Khatib, Chief Development and Delivery Officer at Expo 2020 Dubai and H.E. Saeed Hareb, Secretary General Dubai Sports Council awarded the Red Jersey to Tadej Pogacar


1 – Mathias Vacek (Gazprom-Rusvelo), 180km in 3h58’10”, average speed 45.346km/h
2 – Paul Lapeira (AG2R Citroen Team) s.t.
3 – Dmitrii Strakhov (Gazprom-Rusvelo) s.t.


  • Red Jersey, General Classification.
    Sponsor: International Holding Company – Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates)
  • Green Jersey, Points Classification.
    Sponsor: Italian Trade Agency (ICE) – Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix)
  • White Jersey, Young Rider Classification.
    Sponsor: Nakheel – Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), to be worn by Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates)
  • Black Jersey, Intermediate Sprint Classification.
    Sponsor: Abu Dhabi Aviation – Dmitrii Strakhov (Gazprom-Rusvelo)

1 – Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates)
2 – Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers at 4″
3 – Aleksandr Vlasov (BORA – hansgrohe) at 14″

Mathias Vacek said in a press conference: “I’m feeling a lot of emotions after this win. It’s hard to believe it, I’m really happy. The best moment was when, with 10km to go, we realized that we had one and a half minutes [from the peloton], so we could go for the win. Everybody in the breakaway pushed very hard. I didn’t even speak with my two teammates, it was just all out. I know that I have quite a strong sprint. I’m one of the lead-out guys for Matteo Malucelli. I still need a bit of time to know what kind of rider I can become, but this win might change my career.”

Tadej Pogacar said: “Breakaway riders always say if you don’t try you don’t know, they really tried today. It’s great. It’s a bit of a surprise but it shows that it can happen if you are smart at the front, which I think they really were today and they were strong too. I’m glad to see such a young rider winning a race. For tomorrow, with regards to the climb, Adam Yates and Alexandr Vlasov are the strongest riders but also Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert. They showed on Jebel Jais how strong they are with two guys. But I think my team is strong enough to control the race.”

Data collected by Velon’s devices on the riders’ bikes tells a detailed story of the stage. An infographic about today’s stage can be downloaded here.

Stage 7 – Mubadala Stage – Al Ain – Jebel Hafeet (148km)

This is the classic mountain stage of the UAE Tour. The first part of the stage follows the usual route around Al Ain, passing many of its well-known sights (Al Ain Zoo, Al Qattara, Al Hili, Al Ain Oasis) before returning after a long desert loop to Green Mubazzarah where the closing 10km climb up Jebel Hafeet is the final ‘judge’ of the race.

Last kms
A final climb which winds along wide hairpin bends on a 3-lane roadway. Gradients are mostly around 8-9% with a peak of 11% 3km from the finish. There is a very short descent in the last km before the last ramp (all on asphalt).

The post-stage press conference will be live-streamed on the UAE Tour YouTube channel.

The UAE Tour International TV Schedule is available here.

Download the official UAE Tour App now and stay updated on the race, riders’ timings and everything that’s happening during the stage:

The media can download high resolution pictures of the race from the official online pressroom. In order to download the pictures, just go to (username: press / password: press), select “Media”, then “Cycling”, then UAE Tour. The photos are free of charge for editorial use, as long as both the UAE Tour and the photographer’s name are credited.



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