Knox came into the race as a potential GC candidate and had the backing of his Deceuninck-QuickStep team as they split duties between the overall classification and Sam Bennett in the sprint stages.
However, Knox suffered in the heat, and finished more than 11 minutes down on stage winner and new race leader Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott).
"I suffered a lot, especially in the heat and after not racing in Australia or South America, like some of the others. I just arrived at the final climb and was just cooked. I had nothing left," he told Cyclingnews.
"I tried to do my best and gave it a go. I had ice and water with around 100km to go and I stuck in on the climb for the first kilometer but my legs were throbbing."
Knox came into the race having finished 13th at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana earlier in the month and with the Giro d’Italia his main focus for the calendar year. While he was clearly disappointed with his ride on stage 3 in the UAE, he acknowledged that bigger goals lie ahead and that he would still work for his team in whatever role they deployed him in during the UAE Tour.
The race returns to Jebel Hafeet on stage 5, providing Knox with a second opportunity on the climb.
"It’s still early in the season, so it’s hard to know where the condition is. I just couldn’t cope with the heat, having come over from Europe. I probably need a week of riding in this heat to adapt. I’ll just give it a go next time on the climb and just hope for better legs.
"We still have a strong team here and I’ll be looking to try and help the guys as much as possible. If they need me to ride on the front in order to save another person for the sprint then I’ll be more than happy to do so. If they need me to drop back to the car for bottles, I’ll do that.
"For me, I’m still here to get the kilometers in my legs and get ready for my next race in Catalunya."
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