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Complete Live Report
Live coverage of stage 3 of the UAE Tour, with a summit finish on Jebel Hafeet that will shake up the general classification.
- UAE Tour race preview
- Stage 2: Gaviria wins bunch sprint after crosswinds chaos
- Stage 1: Jumbo-Visma win team time trial
- Dan Martin: Expect fireworks and tricky tactics in UAE Tour finale
Welcome to our live coverage of the UAE Tour. It's a big stage today, with a summit finish on Jebel Hafeet, which was a mainstay of the old Abu Dhabi Tour. Here at the all-new UAE Tour there are other climbing stages, so today won't be absolutely decisive but will nevertheless shape the overall complexion of the race.
- 115km remaining from 179km
As we pick up the action, the riders have covered 64 flat kilometres. There are four men in the break and it's déjà vu, with two apiece from Gazprom-RusVelo and Novo Nordisk - the only non-WorldTour teams in this peloton.
It's nearly but not quite the same quartet as yesterday. Igor Baev and Stepan Kuriyanov are there again for Gazprom, and Charles Planet is there again for Novo Nordisk, Fabio Calabria being the fresh face up there for the team of diabetics.
The four riders have a lead of 4:15 over the peloton, where Jumbo-Visma are setting the pace, with the red leader's jersey on the back of their main man Primoz Roglic.
The pace has been raised in the peloton and the gap is down to three minutes.
Out in the exposed desert the threat of crosswinds is often high and although we don't have any echelons at this moment in time, we certainly did yesterday. The race eventually came back together for a bunch sprint, where Fernando Gaviria emerged victorious, but for a while it was fast and furious out there. You can catch up on the action with our stage report, which also contains photos and results.
- 103km remaining from 179km
The gap continues to fall, and is now down at two minutes. Jumbo-Visma lead the peloton.
The gap has stabilised just above the two-minute mark.
- 92km remaining from 179km
It's all calm out there at the moment. Most of the stage is pan-flat and this is largely a procession to the foot of Jebel Hafeet ahead of one intense ramp test.
We've seen the climb before in the Abu Dhabi Tour, where Alejandro Valverde, Rui Costa, Tanel Kangert and Esteban Chaves have all been victorious. It's 10.8km long with an average gradient of 5.4%, but that's mitigated by easy sections near the bottom and top. There are steeper slopes, including double-digit gradients 3km from the finish.
Want to hear an expert voice on what might unfold here and in the rest of the race? Well, here's how UAE Team Emirates' leader Dan Martin sees it.
The peloton has picked up the pace once more and the gap to the break is falling fast.
It looks like it's coming back together.
- 80km remaining from 179km
And there we have it. With some 80km still to cover, the breakaway of the day has already been reeled in. All together.
The peloton head through a feed zone and the riders take on some supplies.
We will surely now see some fresh attacks and attempts to form a new breakaway.
Susan jumping in for a short spell. The peloton is riding through the desert now --nice, if you like sand dunes.
They have just passed through the feed zone, and we hope we do not see anyone tossing their trash any old where. There are rules against that, and the fines for it have been increased.
The rules will be strictly enforced this weekend in Belgium, it looks like. So lets think about the environment, ok?
No real rush or pressure at the moment. Jumbo is, of course, at the front, with Sunweb and Movistar behind them.
Now we see Tom Dumoulin moving up amongst the team cars. We don't know why he was back there.
Marcel Kittel was also back there and now Richie Porte is making his way back to the field, too.
Dumoulin is up at the front again now but seems to have erred his way into the Lotto team instead of his Sunweb team.
Michael Valgren is looking forward to the Opening Weekend, and would sure like to repeat his win in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. But the Dimension Data rider knows that "It's so hard to win these Classics."
Just under 54 km to go, and the tempo has picked up slightly.
The field is short one rider today. Rick Zabel (Katusha-Alpecin) was DNF yesterday. The German said he was not feeling well in Almeira and things were just getting worse. So the decision was made to stop, go home and get checked out.
25°C, virtually no wind at the moment, and 48km to go. Which means the action will start in about 37km.
Marcel Sieberg (Bahrain Merida) s in the front row of the field. He is easy to pick out, since he is about two heads taller than everyone else.
Jumbo-Visma are leading the peloton. With no breakaway to chase, it's a fairly relaxed procession to Jebel Hafeet.
Despite the late withdrawal of Chris Froome, there's absolutely no shortage of big names here, though it's probably too early in the season to draw too many conclusions from this. Still, Valverde, Nibali, Dumoulin, Porte, Martin, Roglic, Kwiatkowski are among a host of riders who'll be in amongst it today.
There's also Ilnur Zakarin, Tejay Van Garderen, Louis Meintjes, Emmanuel Buchmann, Davide Formolo, Damiano Caruso, Rohan Dennis, Bauke Mollema, Gorka Izaguirre, Kenny Elissonde and young guns Bjorg Lambrecht, David Gaudu and James Knox.
- 25km remaining from 179km
25km to go now and we're just under 15km from the foot of Jebel Hafeet. The pace is starting to pick up.
The pace has just shot up as riders fight for position ahead of the climb. There's an intermediate sprint coming up, too, which carries three bonus seconds for the first rider across the line.
Bora and Lotto are the two teams drilling it on the front of the bunch.
- 16.5km remaining from 179km
Lotto hit the front now, with Lambrecht in third position. The peloton is strung out now.
Adam Blythe is continuing the charge for Lotto on the approach to the sprint.
Bahrain take it up now
Gazprom are moving up Kurianov, who's been in the break the last two days.
Kurianov opens it up, he's trailed by Caruso from Bahrain.
Kurianov makes sure the black intermediate sprints jersey stays on his shoulders. Caruso, meanwhile, takes two bonus seconds in the general classification. Bahrain sprinter Phil Bauhaus was third across the line.
- 12.5km remaining from 179km
Now the lead-out to the climb begins.
Jumbo-Visma take control through Tony Martin.
Many of the sprinters have already said goodbye to the peloton.
The climb up Jebel Hafeet is 10.8km long with an average gardient of 5.4%. There are easy gradients at the bottom and top but harder stuff in the middle and double-digit stuff 3km from the top.
- 11km remaining from 179km
Here we go. Just 200m to go until the climb starts. Martin pulls off.
- 10.8km remaining from 179km
Jos Van Emden leads the race onto the final climb.
Riders are quickly getting spat out as the main contenders come to the fore.
CCC, Movistar, and FDJ have riders up at the front setting the pace at the moment.
Paddy Bevin is on the front and he's gapping the rest with his tempo.
Diego Ulissi lifts it behind and closes the gap.
Bevin and Ulissi have a small lead over the rest and they're pulling away.
- 8.6km remaining from 179km
Jumbo-Visma set two men on the front of the main group to lift the pace.
Bevin and Ulissi have 14 seconds as Bouwman and De Plus set the pace for Roglic behind.
Sunweb's Rob Power attacks from the main group now.
Power makes it across to make it three at the head of the race.
Power has bigger-name teammates behind in Tom Dumoulin and Wilco Kelderman, and Sunweb are looking to shake things up tactically here.
Louis Meintjes is dropped.
Richie Porte is losing contact now, too.
Porte is slipping further back.
Bouwman has pulled off and it's De Plus leading Roglic now. Dan Martin and Vincenzo Nibali are close at hand behind.
- 6.5km remaining from 179km
De Plus' pace-setting has brought the gap down to 8 seconds.
Bevin, Ulissi, and Power are caught. Big turn there from De Plus.
How long can De Plus keep this going? Roglic is sitting second wheel. We're just under 6km from the top.
The main group is down to around 30 riders.
Nibali is losing contact!
Nibali has been dropped.
Knox and Evenepoel are still there for QuickStep.
Grmay dropped for Mitchelton-Scott.
Evenepoel starts to lose contact now.
Nibali has already lost 30 seconds. Porte a whole lot more.
Still De Plus leads the way, with Roglic in the wheel. Dan Martin is just behind. Gaudu is there for FDJ, his teammate Reichenbach having just peeled off. Tejay Van Garderen is up near the front too.
Sky have Kwiatkowski, Elissonde, and Moscon still up there. Kelderman and Dumoulin are a little further back. Valverde is still around, too.
Caruso loses contact.
And now De Plus pulls off! What a shift from the Belgian.
Roglic himself takes it up straight away!
He's trailed by Gaudu.
Mollema in trouble now, as is Gorka Izaguirre.
Martin joins Roglic and Gaudu and we have a leading trio.
Buchmann sets off in pursuit. Kwiatkowski behind in a group of five or so.
Moscon and Van Garderen start to slip away.
Buchmann makes it over to make it four at the head of affairs, along with Roglic, Martin, and Gaudu.
Dumoulin and Kelderman are with Valverde and Kwiatkowski in the second group.
- 3.1km remaining from 179km
Martin starting to suffer now as Roglic accelerates.
This is the steepest section now.
Zakarin leads the chase with Formolo and Valverde. Sunweb's duo lose ground.
James Knox is still up there in the chase group.
The four at the front are back together and they lead the chasers by 24 seconds
Gaudu attacks! Roglic follows. Martin and Buchmann dropped.
Valverde attacks from the chase!
Valverde chases down Martin.
The world champion takes a breather in the wheel of his Ardennes rival. The gradients are easier now with 2km to go.
Buchmann makes it back across to Roglic and Gaudu.
Formolo is alone as the third 'group' on the road.
Zakarin attacks from the fourth group. Dumoulin is leading Kelderman but can't follow. Jan Hirt responds for Astana.
12 seconds is the gap between the front three and Valverde/Martin.
- 1km remaining from 179km
Valverde attacks and drops Martin!
Just one kilometre to go and Valverde makes it across!
Valverde is the heavy favourite in a sprint for the line.
700 metres to go and Valverde sits in. They start to weave across the road.
The road dips downhill and soon there'll be a kick up and a tight turn into the finishing straight.
Buchmann, Valverde, Roglic, and Gaudu lead. It's between those four.
The road kicks up and Valverde accelerates!
Valverde comes through the turn in pole position...and takes it!
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) wins stage 3 of the UAE Tour.
1 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar 04:44:50
2 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma
3 David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
4 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:04
5 Daniel Martin (Ire) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:12
6 Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:33
7 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin
8 James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStep 00:00:35
9 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
10 Jan Hirt (Cze) Astana
General Classification after stage 3
1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma 09:38:05
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar 00:00:14
3 David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 00:00:31
4 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:39
5 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb 00:00:47
6 Daniel Martin (Ire) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:54
7 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb 00:00:57
8 Victor de la Parte (Spa) CCC Team 00:01:05
9 James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStep 00:01:07
10 Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:01:08
"It's my first victory of the year, and I was raelly keen to take it. It was hard, but I felt good. I did a good job of keeping sheltered because there was a lot of wind out there and I managed to get the victory.
"It was difficult to follow Roglic. He went very early. I knew I had to bide my time and go at the same point I went last year, and that's what I did. It was very important to know the climb and have that reference from last year."