Sam Bennett is eighth in the points classifications heading into the two final sprint stages at the UAE Tour as Jonas Vingegaard took victory on stage five.
The Carrick-on-Suir sprint specialist came into Thursday's 170km mountain stage to the summit at Jebel Jais off the back of an impressive victory on stage four's sprint finish.
With two sprint stages to come, the Deceuninck-QuickStep rider is on 20 points, with general classification leader Tadej Pogacar also top of the points standings on 55, seven clear of Jumbo-Visma's David Dekker.
With the sixth and seventh stages in Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively both being sprints, Bennett will have high hopes of climbing up the points standings.
Meanwhile, in the general classification, Pogacar added two seconds to his advantage over defending champion Adam Yates.
The fifth stage was viewed as Yates' best hope of dislodging Tour de France champion Pogacar from the top of the general classification.
But the expected scrap between the leading protagonists never fully materialised on the 21.5km drag up to the finish.
Instead, the main group marked each other, with a late dig from Jumbo-Visma's Vingegaard enough for the victory while Pogacar crossed the line second, just in front of Yates, to snatch bonus seconds that increased his overall lead to 45 seconds.
With two flat stages remaining of the opening WorldTour race of the season, it would likely take an incident - or a repeat of the opening stage crosswinds - to deny Pogacar victory in the home race for his UAE Team Emirates squad.
Yates, making his debut for the Ineos Grenadiers, will feel confident of keeping his second place with a 27-advantage over Bennett's Deceuninck-QuickStep team-mate Joao Almeida.
Chris Froome, continuing his rehabilitation in his Israel Start-up Nation debut, rode in one minute and 42 seconds behind the leaders after helping team-mate Ben Hermans.