Britain’s Adam Yates remains second in the UAE Tour after failing to gain time on leader Tadej Pogacar on stage five.
Red jersey wearer Pogacar, 22, is now expected to retain his 45-second lead through the final two sprint stages.
Jumbo-Visma’s Jonas Vingegaard won the mountainous 166km stage to Jebel Jais.
Ineos Grenadiers’ Yates, 28, was expected to attack Pogacar’s lead to try to finish the stage ahead of the Slovenian, but the pair crossed the line together after a late rally.
Only crashes and high winds splitting the peloton are likely to give Yates a chance to close the gap across Friday and Saturday.
Last year’s Tour de France winner Pogacar, who rides for UAE-Team Emirates, took the lead after Monday’s time trial when the winner of stage one, Mathieu van der Poel, left the race after a staff member on his Alpecin-Fenix team tested positive for coronavirus.
Pogacar held the overall general classification after a tussle on Tuesday with Yates up to Jebel Hafeet, and stayed firm against Yates on Thursday’s ‘queen stage’, which has the highest mountains for overall contenders to claim the most time over their rivals.
Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome finished 42nd for his new team Israel Start Up Nation, remaining more than 16 minutes adrift overall.
Froome, 35, said: “Hopefully things are coming together, but I definitely need more of these races behind me.”
Friday’s stage is a 165km race from Deira Island to Palm Jumeirah, where Ireland’s Sam Bennett could take victory after scoring his 50th career win on Wednesday.
UAE Tour stage 5 result:
1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den/Jumbo-Visma) 4hrs 19mins 8secs
2. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE-Team Emirates) +3secs
3. Adam Yates (GB/Ineos Grenadiers) same time
4. Sergio Huigita (Col/EF Education-Nippo) +5secs
5. Joao Almeida (Por/Deceuninck-Quick Step) +6secs
6. Nick Schultz (Aus/Team Bike Exchange) same time
7. Sepp Kuss (USA/Jumbo-Visma) +8secs
8. Wout Poels (Ned/Bahrain-Victorious) same time
9. Ben Hermans (Bel/Israel Start Up Nation) “
10. Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra/AG2R-Citroen) “
1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE-Team Emirates) 17hrs 9mins 26secs
2. Adam Yates (GB/Ineos Grenadiers) +45secs
3. Joao Almeida (Por/Deceuninck-Quick Step) +1min 12secs
4. Chris Harper (Aus/Jumbo-Visma) +1min 54secs
5. Neilson Powless (USA/EF Education-Nippo) +1min 56secs
6. Mattias Jenson Skjelmose (Den/TRek-Segafredo) +2min 47secs
7. Damiano Caruso (Ita/Bahrain-Victorious) +2min 49secs
8. Mattia Catteno (Ita/Deceuninck – Quick Step) +4min 3secs
9. Ruben Fernandez (Spa/Cofidis) +4min 23secs
10. Fausto Masnada (Ita/Deceuninck-Quick Step) +6min 40secs
40. Chris Froome (GB/Israel Start-Up Nation) +16mins 38secs
53. Mark Donovan (GB/Team DSM) +21mins 10secs
128. Harry Tanfield (GB/Team Qhubeka-Assos) +58mins 22secs