UAE Team Emirates’ Adam Yates won the UAE Tour Stage 7 at Jebel Hafeet on Sunday, while Remco Evenepoel won the overall victory at the UAE Tour.
"It was hard. I thought Yates was just going to stay on my wheel and then jump in the last few hundred metres, I would have been happy with that," Evenepoel said.
"But in the end, I had to go over the limit to keep up with him. I think I came closer towards the end, but then my legs ran out of energy in the end because we went super fast on the climb."
It's Evenepoel's first Tour win as world champion and he feels this victory puts him in great shape as the focus shifts to the next Tour challenge of the Giro d’Italia in May.
Luke Plapp came second overall after finishing 59 seconds behind Evenepoel.
Meanwhile, Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroën) made a late charge to take third on the stage at 42 seconds.
Yates, who was described as the "King of the mountain", said the "tactic was to go full gas at the bottom. We had nothing to lose.
"I was so far down on the GC after the crosswind stage, we just had to go all out from the bottom and see what happened. The guys did an amazing job. I attacked quite early, but I knew I had to push really hard to drop the guys, and finally, I managed to do it."
Yates made a break with 6 km to go to the finish, a risky strategy on a difficult climb on Jebel Hafeet. But one he was confident would pay off thanks to his local knowledge on UAE Team Emirates home turf.