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Abu Dhabi Tour 2016: Stage 3

Welcome to live coverage of stage 3 of the Abu Dhabi Tour from Al Ain to Jabel Hafeet. 

Abu Dhabi Tour hub

Stage 2 report: Cavendish wins

Stage 2 highlights

Start list

The third stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour is well under way and there are four riders on the attack including Olympic Champion Greg van Avermaet. The other three up front are Michael O'Loughlin (WIGGINS), Marco Coledan (Trek-Segafredo) and Evgeny Shalunov (Gazprom-Rusvelo).

The four riders out front have over five minutes of an advantage as they head towards the summit finish of Jabel Hafeet. 

 

Mark Cavendish leads the general classification at the moment after winning yesterday's stage. This is how things stand at the moment. 

 

1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data 5:48:06
2 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:04
3 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-BikeExchange 0:00:05
4 Elia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky 0:00:08
5 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin
6 Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:10
7 Dion Smith (NZl) ONE Pro Cycling
8 Christopher Latham (GBr) Team WIGGINS 0:00:14
9 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team
10 Michal Kolár (Svk) Tinkoff Team

 

Cavendish is unlikely to hold onto his lead today on what should be the decisive stage for the general classification. Most of today's 140 kilometres are over flat roads but the final 10 will bring the riders up the Jebel Hafeet.

 

 

90km remaining from 150km

90km to go and the leaders still have five minutes on the bunch. The temperatures are fairly pleasant out there with the mercury rising to around 35 degrees. 

 

Astana and Tinkoff are leading the way in the peloton. They've got Vincenzo Nibali and Alberto Contador between them to fight for the overall classification. Dimension Data sit just behind, keeping an eye on Cavendish. 

 

Abu Dhabi isn't the only racing on this weekend. We've got the Japan Cup and Chrono des Nations, where Kiryienka and Castroviejo will go head to head for the elite men's title. Check out the full start list for the men's and women's events here

 

73km remaining from 150km

Reports coming in that Andy Fenn has crashed.

 

The gap between the leaders and the peloton is slowly coming down. The four escapees are just under four minutes ahead of the main bunch, which is led by Gatis Smukulis of Aastana. 

 

67km remaining from 150km

There are a few crosswinds about and the peloton is being stretched out under the pace. Riders will have to keep their wits about them if they don't want to be distanced. 

 

One rider that won't be doing much today, other than resting up in bed, is Andre Greipel, the German did not start this morning citing a respiratory infection. 

 

It's still very much Astana and Tinkoff in control of the peloton and they are bringing this gap down rather quickly now. With 60 kilometres to go only 3:30 separates the peloton from the four escapees. 

 

The wind has picked up and Team Sky has taken control. They are really pushing on the front of the peloton. 

 

Their drive has forces a fissure in the bunch but BMC is working hard to bring it back. 

 

Their drive has forces a fissure in the bunch but BMC is working hard to bring it back. 

 

BMC has bridge the gap but it is single file in the peloton and there is a mad scramble at the back of the bunch. Thomas de Gendt is one of those who has been caught out. 

 

49km remaining from 150km

All that action is bad news for the escapees who have seen their lead cut down to 1:50. 

 

The peloton is now in three groups with around 40 riders making into the first peloton. Race leader Cavendish is one of those in the Sky-led group. 

 

A few glances over the shoulder from Van Avermaet. He's obviously had word that the peloton his hot on the heels of his group. On this long stretch of road, it is possible that he will be able to see them soon with just a kilometre separating them. 

 

40km remaining from 150km

It's Michal Kwiatkowski dragging the first peloton along. The pace is not relenting as they fast approach the one and only climb of the day. Just 30 kilometres until they hit the bottom. 

 

While the main group forges on, the dropped riders appear to have accepted defeat and are riding tempo at the moment. We'll bring you a full list of riders in that main group as soon as we can. 

 

We can tell you that Alberto Contador has made the cut and the presence of Astana on the front of that group would lead us to believe that Vincenzo Nibali is also in there. Mark Cavendish is there, as is Team Sky's Nicolas Roche. Just 21 seconds for the four leaders. 

 

With just over 30 kilometres remaining, the catch has been made.

 

The pace is upping again as Orica-BikeExchange take to the front. They've got Michael Matthews in the bunch. 

 

The second intermediate sprint is coming up, which will explain Orica coming to the front. Mark Cavendish and his Dimension Data team decide to take control with the red jersey riding up ahead of the group of Orica-BikeExchange riders. 

 

25km remaining from 150km

The intermediate sprint is in just over 9km with the start of the final climb coming 6km after that. 

 

 

21km remaining from 150km

More splits coming as the sprinters teams take control and some of the Team Sky riders that did so much work to cause that earlier split are off the back of the bunch. 

 

The Jebel Hafeet climb featured in last year's debut Abu Dhabi Tour. Esteban Chaves beat Fabio Aru on that day and went on to win overall. With bonus seconds available, victory on the climb is not definitive for the GC but it will go a long way to securing the title. 

 

Race leader Cavendish has lost touch with the leading group. He is currently 10 seconds behind. 

 

14km remaining from 150km

Greg Van Avermaet has already been on the attack today but he's not had enough and is having another go. He has jumped clear with Fran Ventoso. 

Astana, with Smukulis, is leading the chase behind with the help of CCC Sprandi. The duo up front has got a 16-second lead.

 

Back in the peloton, there's a sprint for the final intermediate points. Van Avermaet and Ventoso took the top two spots and Nizzolo beats Cavendish to take the final 3 points available. 

 

12km remaining from 150km

Smukulis moves over and CCC Sprandi take control of the peloton. Team Sky has one rider in that CCC train with Roche also sitting on the back of it. 

 

10km remaining from 150km

The road begins ascend and the gap is coming down. Ventoso looks done for the day and Van Avermaet is going it alone. 

 

Van Avermaet is obviously intent on winning this stage, having gone in the early break, but it's a tough ask for the Belgian. He has just seven seconds on the peloton. 

Van Avermaet is brought back and Carlos Verona goes on the attack for Orica-BikeExchange. 

 

Cavendish sits up and drops off the back of the peloton. He's saving himself for tomorrow's stage. 

 

Verona has a small gap on the bunch. The Spanish rider made a mid-season switch to the Orica team this year. 

 

8km remaining from 150km

Schar leading the chase for BMC. Movistar's Winner Anacona is near the front too. The gap to Verona is just 10 seconds at the moment. 

 

Michael Matthews hanging on in this group for now. This is a hard climb but not too tough for the Australian. 

 

After hovering around 10 seconds for quite some time, Verona is finally pulling out the gap again. He has 20 seconds on the chasers for now but that could quickly disappear if someone chooses to attack behind. 

 

7km remaining from 150km

18 riders in that chasing group including Contador, Roche, Matthews, Nibali and Ulissi. The gap is now 24seconds. 

 

Ulissi kicks on from this chasing group and he's got Kangert in his wheel. 

 

Roche is trying to chase them down and there's some splits behind. Young rider classification leader Dion Smith is dropped as is Matthews. 

 

Verona's lead has been demolished and Kangert has him in his sights as he drops Ulissi. 

 

6km remaining from 150km

Kangert catches Verona who moves into his wheel. Roche is up there with Nibali but Contador looks like he's struggling. Hernandez is trying to bring him back. 

 

Contador makes it back but Roche and Kangert push on again. 

 

Hansen is now trying to make it over to the leading group of Kangert and Roche.  

 

Hansen is losing ground on the leaders and it looks like he's going to be brought back by the chasers. 

 

Nibali swings across the road and takes a look at his companions. He's sizing them up ahead of this finale. 

 

Hansen still holding on in no man's land. 9 seconds separate him from the chasers. 

 

Good rides from Pearson and Debesay to make it into this group. They're among some illustrious company. 

 

Hansen caught and he is now setting the pace for the chasers. He looks like he's in pain but he's doing some damage as Pearson and Verona are dropped. 

 

3km remaining from 150km

Hansen sits up and Debesay attacks. 

 

Debesay closes the gap to the leaders to just 16 seconds.

 

Roche cracks and Kangert pushes on alone. Back in group three Bernard attacks and is quickly followed by Nibali. Ulissi and Contador don't chase immediately. 

 

2km remaining from 150km

Kangert is on the toughest part of the climb and Roche is definitely in trouble. His face paints a thousand words. 

 

Group three is back together after Bernard's attack. 

 

2km remaining from 150km

Kangert has just 10 seconds on Roche with a little over 2km to go. He has 25 seconds on Debesay. 

 

1km remaining from 150km

The road flattens out and the chase is on. This isn't all said and done for Kangert just yet. 

 

There will be another kick up for the riders to contend with before the finish line.

 

1km remaining from 150km

Roche is keeping Kangert within touching distance but crucially he's not closing the gap as the Estonian passes under the flamme rouge. 

 

Kangert is pulling away now and this looks like it is his now. 

 

Kangert wins

 

Roche comes home for second place with Debesay just beating Ulissi into third place. 

 

The top 5 from today's stage

 

1 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team
2 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sky
3 Mekseb Debesay (Eri) Dimension Data
4 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - Merida
5 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff Team
 

 

With bonus seconds, Kangert will hold a substantial enough lead going into tomorrow's sprint stage. 

 

This is how the top 10 in the GC looks after that stage. 

 

1 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team 09:19:44
2 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sky 00:00:21
3 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - Merida 00:00:43
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 00:01:00
5 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff Team
6 Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo 00:01:02
7 Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team 00:01:29
8 Martijn Tusveld (Ned) Giant Alpecin 00:01:38
9 Winner Anacona (Col) Movistar
10 Jesper Hansen (Den) Tinkoff
 

 

Kangert: "We knew from the start that we had two good climbers here, Vincenzo and, if I had good legs, I knew that I could also be there. Luckily, I had a good day and that was the tactic, we just had to be there in the final. For a moment, it was quite hectic with the side wind but luckily our team was really good and strong in the beginning and they protected us from the crosswinds. I arrived on the climb quite fresh.

"Yesterday, Vincenzo told me that he was going to work for me today and I knew that I had a chance to do something. If I have the chance then I really have to use it and luckily I had the legs today."

 

Tomorrow will be an opportunity for the sprinters to end their race on a high note as the race takes to the Yas Marina Formula One circuit. Check up on the full results, gallery and report right here and we'll have video highlights for you later today.  

 

That is it from us today. Tune in tomorrow for live coverage of the final stage and keep with Cyclingnews for all the reaction from today's stage and other news. Bye for now. 

 

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