Remco Evenepoel sealed the overall UAE Tour title after finishing second in the final stage ©Getty Images

Reigning world champion Remco Evenepoel of Belgium captured the UAE Tour crown after finishing second in the seventh and final stage.

The Soudal Quick-Step rider held a nine-second lead going into the last 153 kilometres between the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium and Jebel Hafeet before going on to win the International Cycling Union World Tour event by almost one minute.

Britain's UAE Team Emirates star Adam Yates, the 2020 champion, won the final stage in 3hr 39min 42sec and was closely followed by Evenepoel who managed to stay on his tail to ensure the overall victory.

Evenepoel finished 0.10 behind Yates to take second spot as France’s Geoffrey Bouchard of AG2R Citroën Team was 0.42 further back in third to complete the podium.

The Belgian did not win a stage, finishing second twice, but his consistency was rewarded with the overall title.

After moving to the top of the general classification standings by the halfway point in the seven-day event, Evenepoel emerged victorious in 23:25:26.

"It was all out from the bottom to the top of Jebel Hafeet and I am happy with my performance, having not done much climbing training this year," said Evenepoel.

"I wasn’t expecting to win this race.

"I came for a good result but I wouldn’t have thought I’d win it by one minute.

"I was in good shape all week and I wanted to fight for my Red Jersey today.

"There’s room for improvement before the Giro [d'Italia] but I can be happy with this victory."

Australia’s Luka Plapp of Ineos Grenadiers put pressure on Evenepoel but a sixth-place finish in the finish stage saw him miss out on gold, 0.59 off the leader.

Yates pipped Spain’s Pello Bilbao of Team Bahrain Victorious by just 0.03 to take bronze.

The points classification winner was another Belgian in Evenepoel’s team-mate Tim Merlier who secured two individual stage victories and was part of Soudal Quick-Step’s team time trial success.

"As a team, we are very happy with the overall win," said Merlier.

"Remco wanted to win today’s stage as well but you can’t win everything.

"Three stage wins, the overall victory and the points classification victory - we can be proud of what we achieved here this week."