UAE Tour: Stage 3

Adam Yates and Tadej Pogačar go man-on-man on the summit finish for stage 3 of the UAE Tour with the TDF winner Pogacar winning from last years UAE winner Yates who is now second overall

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UAE Tour: Stage 3

Tadej Pogačar has won the first mountain stage of the UAE Tour after he and Adam Yates rode clear of their rivals on the final climb, Jebel Hafeet. The Slovenian had to dig deep on the flanks of Jebel Hafeet to follow Adam Yates who attacked several times but eventually managed to out sprint the British UAE Tour defending champion in final metres of the race to the top. Tadej Pogačar, already in the leader’s jersey, won on this climb last year.

Photo: UAE Tour

Before the action on the mountain top finish, the riders were presented with a long and flat run through the desert and Thomas De Gendt and Tony Gallopin rode clear from the start and held on to their lead until the race was the race finish mountain. The two escapees managed to get a maximum lead of around seven minutes.

After the echelons on stage 1, there was talk of the same again but nothing eventuated until just over eighty kilometers from the finish, some teams tried to stir the mix as Bahrain Victorious and BORA-hansgrohe in particular put the hammer down but in the end, the wind was not favorable enough to do any damage. On the approach to the climb, Deceuninck-Quick-Step riding for Almeida, tried several times to tear things apart, but this turned out to be too ambitious.

It was a compact peloton that arrived at foot of Jebel Hafeet, a climb of almost eleven kilometers at 6.6%, with peaks of up to 11%. At the foot, the difference between the leaders (De Gendt and Gallopin) and the peloton was barely one minute. The peloton then shattered on the slopes of the Jebel Hafeet as Gallopin ride away from De Gendt. At the back of the peloton, rides such as Froome and Valverde were left to ride the climb at their own pace as they were gapped.

After Pogacar’s team did a lot of damage to the peloton, it was then Adam Yate’s team who stepped it up a gear and caused the group of favorites to explode. Around five kilometers from the top, the favorites group consisted of only fifteen riders but a selection soon gwent clear with Adam Yates, Sepp Kuss and race leader Pogacar.

Neilson Powless was also with them but not for long and it was soon down to two as Kuss went backwards as Yates applied the pressure.

And so, a year later after the duel between Yates and Pogačar on the slopes of Jebel Hafeet, it came down to these two again and Pogacar again came out on top.

Tadej Pogačar: “We wanted to win and we did, at the end of a really hard day. The team showed an excellent performance, always riding in the right positions and setting the pace in the first part of the climb. I was able to respond to the various attacks, even those of Yates. Adam was very strong, which made it tougher and for this reason I am even happier. It was also important to have widened the gap with the other guys in the GC. I knew the ending well and how to approach it in the best way. I knew I had to start early and enter the last two corners first. The title of the UAE Tour general classification is far from over, given that we will still have to face an uphill finish and given that the wind can still create dangers in the last four stages”.

Adam Yates: No quotes from Adam from his tean Ineos (very dissapointing but normal for them)

Emanuel Buchmann (4th) “I had good legs and I am happy. Of course, I am not at my top level yet and it was my first race since month, therefore, the race rhythm isn’t really there yet, and it is hard when the pace is super high. I struggled a little at some point but recovered quite well and felt strong again at the end. It’s a pity we lost the race already at day one, but at least now we know that our winter preparation was good.”

Harm Vanhoucke (5th) “Of course I am happy to finish fifth in such a strong field of riders. It also feels nice to confirm my performances at the Giro last year. The pre-race goal was to finish inside the top ten, so a fifth place is really nice”, begins Harm Vanhoucke.

“Also today, we had to be cautious for possible echelons forming, but the team kept me at the front all day long. That way, I could save some power and start the climb relatively fresh. I immediately got into a nice rhythm, but still it was all about trying to follow as long as I could. Such climbs of around ten kilometres with some steep parts really suit me. After the attack of Yates and Pogačar, only four riders remained in the chasing group. Positioning ahead of the final corner was crucial and eventually, I was able to take fifth place.”

“Going into this race, I was kind of worried about stages like these. Switching to the small ring after such a long and flat run-in is not easy at all. You’re suddenly going from pushing 150 Watts all day long to 400 Watts and more. And that is something I’ve had difficulties with in the past. Luckily, it went a lot better today. I feel that I am also making progress in such stages, which is definitely a positive signal for the future.”

“Unfortunately, I lost quite some time in the opening stage. The next mountain stage includes some more climbs before the finish, which should suit me even better. Of course, I want to be up there again and get a nice result. That way, I can hopefully still move up some places on the general classification. A lot of riders lost quite some time today, so maybe the top ten is still possible. That would be a really nice result at WorldTour level”, concludes Harm Vanhoucke.

Florian Stork (7th) “The guys did a good job for Thymen, Mark and I all day long,” explained Stork at the finish. “They kept us out of the wind, got bottles for us and protected us so we all started the climb in a good position. I just had super good legs today to hang on for as long as possible and I’m really proud of my first WorldTour top ten finish, and to get a nice result for the guys.”

Vincenzo Nibali: “It was my first mountain stage of the season and it went rather well. Jabel Hafeet is a tough climb that, already in the past for its characteristics, I have always not digested well. For this being the first test of a summit finish it’s ok, now my focus is on the next stages to further grow the condition.”

The 4th stage will be 204 km of flat roads with start and finish on Marjan Island.

Stage 3 Jebel Hafeet (166km)
1. Tadej Pogačar UAE-Team Emirates 3:58:35
2. Adam Yates INEOS Grenadiers
3. Sergio Higuita EF Education – Nippo 0:48
4. Emanuel Buchmann BORA – hansgrohe
5. Harm Vanhoucke Lotto Soudal
6. João Almeida Deceuninck – Quick Step
7. Florian Stork Team DSM 0:54
8. Neilson Powless EF Education – Nippo
9. Chris Harper Team Jumbo-Visma 1:00
10. Geoffrey Bouchard AG2R Citroën Team 1:09

40. Chris Froome @ 5.00
46. Mark Donovan @ 5.16
87. Alex Dowsett @ 16.05
119. Luke Rowe 16.05
126. Fred Wright @ 19.35
127. Harry Tanfield @ st

1. Tadej Pogačar UAE-Team Emirates 7:58:30
2. Adam Yates INEOS Grenadiers 0:43
3. João Almeida Deceuninck – Quick Step 1:03
4. Chris Harper Team Jumbo-Visma 1:43
5. Neilson Powless EF Education – Nippo 1:45
6. Mattias Skjelmose Jensen Trek – Segafredo 2:36
7. Damiano Caruso Bahrain – Victorious 2:38
8. Mattia Cattaneo Deceuninck – Quick Step 2:39
9. Rubén Fernández Cofidis, Solutions Crédits 3:32
10. Fausto Masnada Deceuninck – Quick Step 4:47

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