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UAE Tour Stage 3 - Live coverage

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Hello there and welcome back to the Cyclingnews live race centre for coverage of stage 3 of the UAE Tour. It's a big one today, as we're currently heading for Jebel Hafeet and the 10-kilometre final climb. It's one of two key summit finishes in the race along with... Jebel Hafeet again, two days later. 

As we pick up the action, with around 115km to go, we have a breakaway of four riders clear of the peloton. They are: 

We grabbed a word with a few of the riders at the start. Adam Yates was one of them, and here's what he had to say about today's stage.

My colleagues Daniel Benson and Sophie Smith are podcasting from the UAE Tour, and their latest offering covers the action from the opening two stages and, bizarrely, the Australian Emu War of the 1930s.  For more on the emus (and to hear from Chris Froome, Adam Yates, and Sam Bennett), here's the link.

The gap between the four escapees and the peloton stands at five minutes with 100km to go.

There was a crash in the bunch a little earlier, with Domenico Pozzovivo (NTT), Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), and Carlos Rodgriguez (Ineos) among those to hit the deck. No serious harm done.

Speaking of Pozzovivo, we grabbed a word with the diminutive Italian at the start. 

Jebel Hafeet is 10.8km long with an average gradient of 5.4%. It does, however, rise at 7-8% consistently for a good 7km, after a gentle start and before a finish that eases slightly and even includes a mini descent. 

UAE Team Emirates have done a large amount of the pace-setting in the peloton so far today. This is their 'home race' and they're keen to make their mark. In Tadej Pogacar, they have one of the big favourites for today's stage and the overall title. The Slovenian, who had such an extraordinary debut professional campaign last year, comes here on the back of two stage wins and the overall title at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. 

Here's a look at our four breakaway riders (from left to right): Campenaerts, Steels, De Buyst, Marengo.

The gap is down to four minutes now, as we head into the final 80km and the final couple of hours of racing. 

Chris Froome was dropped on yesterday's stage, but that wasn't much of a surprise. The Briton is only just making his comeback after eight months on the sidelines. Daniel Benson caught up with him yesterday and the four-time Tour de France winner revealed how he had to re-learn how to walk, and how he had to go under the knife for a third time in December after an infection from a previous surgery. 

We also grabbed a word with Froome this morning. 

65km to go

Along with UAE, Trek-Segafredo have been doing a lot of the work in the peloton. Their man is Giulio Ciccone, the 25-year-old Italian who had a brilliant season last year and has already won the Trofeo Laigueglia this term. 

There are a number of riders who could be in with a shout today. We've mentioned Pogacar, Valverde, Yates, Ciccone, Dunbar, but there's also Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), Wout Poels (Bahrain McLaren), Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), James Knox (Deceuninck-QuickStep), and Ilnur Zakarin (CCC Team). 

The gap continues to fall steadily. 3 minutes now, as we approach the final 50km. 

Campenaerts takes a sticky bottle from his team car, takes a sip, and pours the rest all over his body. He also gets a pair of tights filled with ice cubes to shove down the back of his jersey. It's over 30 degrees out there. 

45km to go

Pogacar is the man to beat, says Poels

Mitchelton-Scott have a man on the front as they look to tee up Yates. It's them, UAE, and Trek - no one else has done a turn for a good while. 

The four leaders maintain a lead of 2:38 after lifting the tempo. They know, however, that there's no chance of staying away, and this is more of a training outing - at least for the WorldTour representatives. Indeed, some riders have said in the past that the Middle Eastern early-season races can be so gentle in the bunch that they actually 'de-train' and lose form. 

35km to go

Marengo rolls across the sprint line on the front of the quartet before messaging in to say 'job done'. He was just making sure no one else would make inroads in that classification today, not that any of the other three showed any interest. 

The next intermediate sprint is coming up in just over 15km' time. Expect more of the same. 

Here's how the points were shared out at that sprint

30km to go

Here's a closer look at the final climb. 

Old pedals, tubular tyres, flipped shifters... there's plenty of interest on Mark Cavendish's bike. We've taken a closer look.

25km to go

It's all change in the bunch and this now resembles a lead-out to a sprint, with teams forming trains across the road. Sunweb are on the left, then UAE, Trek, Astana, Bora, Movistar, Cofidis, Bahrain, Israel, Ineos.

Sprinter Fernando Gaviria is on the front for UAE. This is their home race and no one is spared any hard graft. 

20km to go

It looks like a gentle crosswind for the most part on the final climb. 

15km to go

The gap falls to 45 seconds. The breakaway riders will make it onto the climb but they're not going to get far up it. 

We're coming up to the second intermediate sprint, and this time it's Campenaerts who takes maximum points by virtue of being on the front. Marengo did an early turn and only managed a point there. 

The climb is 10.8km long, officially, so we're just over 2km from the bottom now. 

Bora come to the front now as the gap plummets to 25 seconds. 

And now Bahrain McLaren move up. Israel are still holding a strong position. 

A gruppetto has already formed, with Cavendish and a number of other non-climbers. 

With 11.5km to go, the breakaway quartet pass under the gate to the climb with a lead of just 10 seconds. 

10.8km to go

A reminder of what's ahead.

Campenaerts is the last survivor from the break and he continues his effort just ahead of the peloton, where Ineos have come to the front.

Campenaerts is back as Golas is done for Ineos.

Race leader Caleb Ewan is dropped now. 

UAE and AG2R move to the front. It's a relaxed start to the climb and Campenaerts is still in third position. 

Froome is dropped

The four-time Tour winner was dropped yesterday and he quickly loses contact again today. 

Lotto move to the front. They have Carl Fredrik Hagen, who was so good at the Vuelta last year.

Attack from Quentin Jauregui (AG2R). The Frenchman takes off 9.3km to the top.

James Knox is dropped. That's more of a surprise. Not sure what's up with the British climber but he's back with his Deceuninck-QuickStep car. 

Knox pours a bottle of water over his face. Maybe he's struggling with the heat.

CCC have taken up the chase of Jauregui. 

Jauregui is caught with 8.4km to go. 

It's Jan Hirt setting the pace for CCC, who still have four riders left here, including Zakarin.

CCC are really turning the screw now. Yates is up there behind them. 

We're into the twisting section of the climb now before the more exposed straighter slog to the top. 

Yates, Gaudu, and Pogacar are up there among the CCC train. 

Hirt pulls over and now Victor de la Parte takes it on for CCC. It turns into an attack, and the Spaniard is away.

Poels is losing contact with 7.2km to go. Bad news for Bahrain.

Just 20 riders left now in the main bunch, 10 seconds behind De la Parte. CCC's work has really thinned things out. 

A counter-attack now from Astana, and it's Merhawi Kudus. 

De la Parte is out of the saddle and grimacing. He's putting pressure on the other teams here, with Zakarin clearly feeling good behind. Kudus isn't making any inroads. 

De la Parte has 15 seconds in hand with 6.3km to go. 

Mitchelton-Scott have taken the reigns in the group of favourites, with Tsgabu Grmay ahead of Yates. 

Correction. De la Parte has 15 seconds over Kudus. The gap to the main bunch of favourites is actually 24 seconds. 

Yates attacks!

5.9km from the summit and the British climber makes his move. Lutsenko jumps on it, as does Gaudu. 

The three of them cruise past Kudus and De la Parte

Valverde dropped!

The Spaniard won't be winning on Jebel Hafeet for a third year in a row. That's a bit of a surprise to see him so far off the pace. 

Yates, Lutsenko, and Gaudu have opened up a handsome margin over a group that now contains just a dozen riders. 

Yates goes again! He wants to get away from the other two and dances convincingly clear with 5km to go

Counter attack from Pogacar! The Slovenian senses the danger and hits out in pursuit. 

Valverde is already a minute behind Yates. 

Pogacar is making his way over to Lutsenko and Gaudu with apparent ease. 

Yates works his way up the climb out of the saddle, while Pogacar remains seated as he joins Gaudu and Lutsenko and sits in behind for a moment. 

It's only a brief bit of respite, though. The other two start looking at him, the pace drops, and Pogacar attacks them and moves clear. 

Lutsenko manages to drag his way back to Pogacar. They're 18 seconds behind Yates with 3.8km to go. 

Lutsenko comes through for a turn now and these two will be a force if they work together. Gaudu has lost contact. 

3.5km to go and Yates, now seated, takes out another few seconds to make it 26 seconds over Pogacar and Lutsenko.

They're playing games in the main chase group down the mountain.

Yates looks like he's on his way to victory. He has 33 seconds now. The steepest part of the climb is just ahead but the last couple of kilometres are more gentle. 

Pogacar attacks Lutsenko again. But he has 37 seconds to make up, with just 2.8km to go. 

Pogacar can see Yates on this long straight part of the climb, but he's still nearly 40 seconds in arrears. 

Yates is still gaining on Pogacar here. 43 seconds now as he enters the final 2km. 

Pogacar is fading and fighting with his bike. Yates is still a picture of composure. 

Into the final 1500 metres for Yates, and he's putting 1:40 into the main group of favourites here, which is huge on this sort of climb. A lot of riders wiped of overall contention already. 

The gradients have eased and they're turning a bigger gear. Yates heads under the flamme rouge with 43 seconds still in hand. Barring accident, he has this sewn up. 

The road will soon dip down before kicking back up to the final bend and home straight. 

700m to go and Yates buries his head in his bars and tries to squeeze out every watt. 50 seconds now over Pogacar and this is a hefty downpayment on overall victory. 

Yates takes on the downhill section.

Back uphill again now and he's out of the saddle and into the final bend.

Yates sits up, raises his arms and crosses the line

Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) wins stage 3 of the UAE Tour

Pogacar is in damage limitation mode here as he sprints up the final rise. The clock is ticking and he grimaces as he enters the final bend. Across the line and the gap is more than a minute! 1:02 to be exact. Wow.

And now the sprint for third. Majka has joined Lutsenko and Gaudu.

Lutsenko takes it ahead of Gaudu and then Majka. They cross the line 1:29 down on Yates. 

The remnants of the main group come home now. Ulissi, Konrad, Izaguirre, Herrada, Dunbar, Kelderman at 1:56. 

Formolo and Pozzovivo are next a few seconds later. 

Zakarin loses more than two minutes. 

Valverde and Ciccone finish now 2:37 down on Yates.

Never have we seen so much damage done on Jebel Hafeet. Pogacar didn't respond when Yates attacked some 6km from the summit, and that was arguably a mistake. However, you have to wonder whether it would have made any difference at all, given the way Yates continued to gain more and more time all the way to the top. A devastating display from the British climber, who has ample margin for error when we return to Jebel Hafeet on Thursday for the next and final showdown in the battle for the overall title. It's going to take something special to stop him winning this race. 

Top 10

General Classification after stage 3

Adam Yates won stage 3 of the UAE Tour atop Jebel Hafeet

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Let's hear from Yates

As for his prospects of maintaining the overall lead until the conclusion of the race...

Here's our report page

The finish line shot

And Yates in the leader's jersey

That's it from us today. We'll be back here tomorrow for live coverage of stage 4, which is likely to end in a bunch sprint, ahead of our return to Jebel Hafeet on Thursday. We'll have all the news and reaction from Abu Dhabi on the way on the site shortly. Bye. 

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