Tadej Pogacar celebrates on the podium (L) after winning stage 4 of the UAE cycling tour, from Fujairah Fort to Jebel Jais, on Wednesday. AFP
A powerful bunch was still together as the 181-kilometre fourth stage slogged up Jebel Jais, the highest point in the Emirates.
Even though the gradient steepened to 7 per cent in the last 200 metres, the Slovenian, led out by two of his UAE team-mates, charged away.
Briton Adam Yates of Ineos and Russian Aleksandr Vlasov of Bora gave chase in a frantic uphill sprint, but could not close the gap. The trio finished three seconds ahead of the next group of the shattered bunch.
Pogacar, the defending UAE champion, took the overall lead from Swiss rider Stefan Bissegger who was dropped earlier on the climb. Pogacar, a double Tour de France winner, leads Filippo Ganna of Ineos by two seconds.
The Italian time-trial specialist managed to stay with the leaders on the climb and surged to the line in a desperate attempt to close the gap Pogacar had created.
Vlasov is 13 seconds off the lead in third with Yates another two seconds back.
Thursday's fifth stage will cover 182 kilometres from Ras al Khaimah Corniche to Al Marjan Island and is likely to end in a sprint.
The race ends on Saturday with another stage that finishes with a potentially decisive climb.
A 13.2km time trial will get the 109th edition of the Tour De France underway, before the riders eventually roll into the mountains and push their bodies and physical capabilities to the absolute limit.
“We are incredibly proud to witness the formation of the first UAE women’s continental team. It is an important moment in the sport’s development in the UAE and a unique opportunity to support the growth of our great sport across the nation..."
UAE Team Emirates leader Pogacar effectively retained the "Race of the Two Seas" run between the Mediterranean and the Adriatic when he romped away from his rivals during stage six on Saturday.
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hamad Bin Saif Al Sharqi, Chairman of the Emirates Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation, Anis Binous, Chairman of the Organising Committee, and a number of dignitaries attended the final of the three-day championship, which was held at Binous Gym.
The seventh-ranked Jabeur, a three-time Grand Slam finalist, saved her best performance of the tournament for the final and raced to victory in 78 minutes.
Chasing 346 for victory, New Zealand lost an early wicket before Ravindra (97) and Williamson (54) put on 137 to put their team on course and they achieved the target with 6.2 overs to spare in Hyderabad.