While most of the attention was on the battle between world champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and race leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) on the upper slopes of Jebel Hafeet, there was one young rider never far from their wheels. David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) is just 22 years old, but the Frenchman coped wiith the aggressive final climb on stage 3 of the UAE Tour better than most of his more experienced rivals.
Gaudu, who finished sixth overall at the Tour de la Provence earlier this month, lost just four seconds to Valverde and Roglic to finish third on the stage and move up to third in the general classification, 31 seconds down on Roglic, with four stages remaining.
"Yeah, it was a good ride. I liked the last climb, it was a medium percentage, so I just had to follow the team doing a good job on the bottom of the climb. Afterwards, I followed Roglic, I attacked once. At the finish, I was trying for the win, but the others were too strong," Gaudu told Cyclingnews.
"I'm young and in my career, if I can, I want to be the best in GC at Grand Tours. It's my dream to ride the Tour de France for the GC," said Gaudu.
The attention is even greater in his home region of Brittany, where the comparison is to France's last Tour champion - and Brittany native - Bernard Hinault. The mountains are not big in Brittany, but Gaudu still loves to train there.
Now into his third year, Gaudu is beginning his transition from being a rider racing to learn to a rider racing for results. The pressure has increased this season, but he's still eager to learn from the team's major leader, Pinot.