A very wet day in the desert! The Abu Dhabi Tour comes to an end today on the waterlogged auto race course.
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Abu Dhabi Tour Stage 3 report and results
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Welcome back to our live coverage of the Abu Dhabi Tour. We hope your remembered to pack your swim and/or rainwear today!
The race has started! A wet track, dark skies and floodlights are the order of the day.
Four riders have a narrow lead on the field.
The stage today is entirely on the Formula 1 race course, also called the Yas Marina Circuit. The plan is for 25 laps of the 5.5 km course, for a total of 143 km.
Patrick Fletcher is on site for us, and tells us: "The rain has eased off in the 10 minutes before the start. Light drizzle now, but the surface of the track is still very slippery."
A group of six riders has a narrow 12 second lead: Dylan Teuns (BMC), Patrick Konrad (Bora Hansgrohe), Kirill Sveshnikov (Gazprom Rusvelo), Rafael Valls (Lotto Soudal), Alex Dowsett (Movistar) and Jorge Arcas (Movistar)
The race winner was in all likelihood settled yesterday in the race’s one and only mountain stage. If you will remember, Rui Costa (UAE Emirates) outsprinted Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) for the win, with Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) coming in third. And that is the current GC top three as well. Here is our stage report and results from Saturday’s stage three.
125km remaining from 143km
The gap has grow to 47 seconds.
The top ten in GC coming into this stage, and presumably the final top ten:
1 Rui Costa (UAE Emirates) 12:39.15
2 Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) +0.04
3 Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) +0.16
4 Bauke Mollema (Trek Segafredo) +0.56
5 Rafal Makja (Bora Hansgrohe)
6 George Bennett (LottoNL Jumbo)
7 Fabo Aru (Astana)
8 Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R)
9 Julian Alaphililppe (QuickStep)
10 Roman Bardet (AG2R) +1.08
The points classification is not yet settled – it depends on the expected bunch sprint finish today. It looks as if it is up to Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) and Marcel Kittel (Quick Step Floors) to decide. Cavendish currently leads Kittel with Costa third.
113km remaining from 143km
113 km to go and a gap of 1:08. These guys must have brought their water wings!
With a lead of 1:24 on the stage, Vaals is now the "virtual" race leader.
There are several intermediate sprints today as well, so this ranking may well change. Right now we have Marco Canola (Nippo Vini Fantini) ahead of Manuele Mori (UAE Team Emirates) and Kittel.
For best young rider, we have Julian Alaphilippe(Quick Step Floors) ahead of Louis Meintjes (Bahrain Merida) and Carlos Quintanilla (Orica Scott).
Local team UAE Team Emirates leads the team rankings, followed by AG2R and LottoNL-Jumbo.
Average race speed is 46.9 km/h.
89km remaining from 143km
89 wet kms still to go, and a gap of 1:16.
And 16 laps to go!
With only one ranked climb in the whole four-stage race, there is no King of the Mountain title here, so we will honourarily give it to Costa.
"When the rain comes...." and it sure is coming. Coming down quite heavily now, as a matter of fact.
After yesterday's mountain performance, Ilnur Zakarin will be a top candidate to win the Giro d'Italia, his team says.
76km remaining from 143km
76 km and 14 laps to go, and the gap has dropped to a mere 47 seconds.
Igor Anton (Dimension Data) has abandoned the race.
Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) is only now starting his season in Abu Dhabi, coming off of altitude training in South Africa. It seems to have helped, as he easily jumped from the favourites' group on the mountain stage to take third place.
If there have been any crashes today, we have not heard of them. We do admit to being nervous about a bunch sprint finish in this kind of weather, though.
59km remaining from 143km
The gap is dropping again, with 11 laps and 59 km to go, it is at 39 seconds.
Riders are starting to drop off the back of the peloton now.
Konrad claims the top points at the intermediate sprint.
59km remaining from 143km
Meanwhile the gap is down to a mere 23 seconds.
@LottoJumbo_road Sun, 26th Feb 2017 16:07:26
We might have expected the big names to face off against each other in the stage 3 mountain, but it didn't happen. And that left Nairo Quintana feeling frustrated.
One of the break group riders has already dropped back, and the rest can expect to be caught momentarily.
It is Konrad who has dropped back. And, yes, it is still pouring down rain.
Andre Greipel behind the field, dodging cars and trying to catch up again. We expect to see him at the front, not the back!
The remaining five in the lead are quite doggedly hanging on to their narrow lead, only 7 seconds.
Eight laps to go!
Only Arcas, Dowsett and Teuns up front now but they have increased the gap to 16 seconds. And the rain seems to have decreased, if not actually stopped.
If you want to see some real cycling action (and better weather!), watch these video highlights of stage 3.
Alex Dowsett has said it is time to stop fooling around and put in a good year, as he will soon be out of contract. He is certainly putting in a good show today.
Christophe Riblon has also abandoned the race. One of the Movistar riders has fallen back, but the gap is only 5 seconds, anyway, with 34 km to go.
Dowsett and Teuns hanging on to a narrow lead with 6 laps to go.
It looks like Quick Step leading the charge to finally rein in the last two escapees.
28km remaining from 143km
That's it, they are caught. Will someone else try to get away, we wonder.....
Julian Alaphilippe takes the intermediate sprint ahead of Konrad.
It must be an odd feeling to ride around in circles in an empty stadium in the pouring rain under floodlights.
Alaphilippe gained bonus seconds at that intermediate sprint, which moved him up from ninth to fifth place in GC.
Now it seems to just be riding the laps and not letting anyone get away. And not crashing!
Three laps and 16.4 km.
It will probably come as no surprise to learn that Peter Sagan won Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne today. You can read about it here.
Mark Cavendish and Marcel Kittel have both won sprint stages here and of course would like to repeat. Andre Greipel and Caleb Ewan have come very close and would certainly like to take the closing stage. Or will we see someone else cross the finish line first?
Two laps and 11 km.
Orica Scott seems to believe in Ewan's chances. They are at the head of the field.
They finally enter the final lap, with only 5.5km left. Hopefully we will see some action at last!
The first riders drop off the bike of the field. When we hit the 3 km marker, we can expect to see the GC riders take it easy too and leave the madness to the sprinters.
3 km to go!
Orica, QuickStep at the front now with 2 km to go.
Bora leads the way.
Ewan takes advantage of a perfect lead out to win the final stage!
And this time he waited to celebrate when he was really and truly over the finish line.
Congratulations to our two winners, Caleb Ewan (Orica Scott) who took the stage, and Rui Costa (UAE Emirates) who wins the race.
Things were so close behind Ewan that we aren't going to try and guess who took second and third.
We are now told that Cavendish was second and Greipel third.
We certainly expected a bunch sprint finish today but it would be fair to say that no one expected a stage in heavy rain!
As totally expected, Costa is confirmed as GC winner, with Zakarin second and Dumoulin third. Congratulations!
Our top ten on stage 4:
1 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott 3:03:06
2 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data
3 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
4 Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
5 Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
6 Roger Kluge (Ger) Orica-Scott
7 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors
8 Alexander Porsev (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
9 Kiel Reijnen (USA) Trek-Segafredo
10 Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
Top Ten GC:
1 Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates 15:42:21
2 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin 0:00:04
3 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:16
4 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:38
5 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:53
6 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:56
7 George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
8 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team
9 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
10 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:07
Our complete report and the complete results will be posted soon.
That was the Abu Dhabi Tour 2017! We hope you enjoyed it. Join us again next weekend for more exciting spring racing.
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