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UAE Tour stage 3 live coverage

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Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 3 of the UAE Tour. 

As we join the action, the first riders have finished the 9km time trial.  

As this is a WorldTour race, the riders are using time trial bikes. 

Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora) sets a time of 10:08. With only two sprint stages, the overall contenders are still close in the GC, so every second won or lost today will be very important. 

Meanwhile Ireland's Ryan Mullen (Bora) starts his ride. Can he be a contender today? 

The current best time has been set by Bissegger at 9:43 of EF. 

The Swiss rider is a superb time trialist but can he win today? 

As Mullen finishes, he has to fight into a headwind. He sets 10:28, so perhaps did not go full gas. 

The 9km time trial is expected to be the first day that will further open up the time gaps between in the overall classification. 

The route suits the most powerful time triallists in the field who are looking for either a stage win or to move up in the overall classification. 

Here comes Bardet, a GC contender perhaps. He sets 10:29. 

Tom Dumoulin could be a contender for the stage and the GC. He could take move close to the race lead today and then take the lead on  stage 4 up to Jebel Jais.

Luke Plapp starts but on his road bike and not a TT bike. That is interesting but could simply be because he has not had chance to work on his new TT bike at Ineos.   

Joao Almeida is also off. 

Perhaps Plapp had a problem with his Pinarello TT bike. Either a mechanical problem or perhaps with the UCI judges. 

Defending Champion Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) starts further down the start list, while Alex Dowsett (Israel-Premier Tech) and Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) start slightly.

Click below to see the full UAE Tour start list.

Mark Cavendish (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) claimed a storming sprint victory on stage 2 of the UAE Tour, holding off stage 1 winner Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) in a rapid run to the line at Abu Dhabi breakwater. 

Click below to read our full stage report and see the full results and photo gallery.

Cavendish's win sparked nore debate and comment about his chances of returning to the Tour de France. 

Joao Almeida went deep and fast to set 10:05. Though that was 22 seconds slower than Bissegger.  

The wind is blowing off the gulf and so the riders get blown along on the way out. From the 4.5km turn point they have to battle into a cross-head wind. 

Jos van Emden is underway. He's aero and has a deep section front wheel. 

Here we go!

Ganna is wearing his world champion's rainbow jersey.

Ganna is quickly into his aero tuck. He'll take some risks on the corners and then put down his huge power.

Ganna appears to have worked on his TT position. 

Of course, Ganna also has to be comfortable and able to produce maximum power in his aero position. 

Ganna is smoothly cutting ever line to save time. 

Ganna eases up for the turn at 4.5km. 

He is just 1 second slower than Bissigger at that point. 

Van Emden sets 10:14. Off the pace slightly for such a good TT rider. 

Boom Ganna blasts past his minute-man Luca Covili of Bardiani.

Here comes Ganna. He's fast! 

Boom. Ganna sets 9:50. He's off the pace of Bissegger.  

Wow. That's a surprise. Bissegger was 7 seconds slower than the EF Swiss rider. 

There have been suggestions that the wind has increased and changed but seven seconds is a big advantage for Bissegger. 

Ganna will not be happy to have lost today.

The TT continues but it will difficult for anyone to beat Bissigger if Ganna failed.

For now Joao Almeida has the best time of the GC contenders with 10:05. 

Adam Yates starts his TT. 

And just behind him is Tadej Pogacar. 

Pogacar has recently recovered from COVID-19 and so it will be interesting to see how that affected his training and his form.

Adam Yates is only 10 seconds down on the ride out to the turn. 

Here comes Pogacar. He sets 4:31 at the turn. 

Pogacar was faster than Yates and so trying to gain time on his GC rivals.

Pogacar was 1 second slower than Vlasov and 1 second faster than teammate Almeida.

U23 World TT champion Johan Price-Pejtersen (Bahrain) could be a contender today.
 

Meanwhile, he comes Adam Yates. He's giving it big licks to the finish. 

Yates a time of 10:12. He tied up in the final metres but he's eighth fastest so far. 

Here's Pogacar: He sets 10: 01. 

That's the third fastest time and puts him right up there in the GC battle going forward. 

Tom Dumoulin is off. There are just 10 riders left to race in the TT. 

Dumoulin races in the Netherlands TT national champion colours. 

The final riders off are the sprinters after they fought for the win and time bonuses in the opening two sprint stages.

The flags out on the course indicate how strong the wind is out there today.

There are lots of new TT bikes out there today.

Dumoulin sets 4:30 at the 4.5 time split and turn point. 

Here comes Dumoulin. As Cavendish starts his TT.

Dumoulin has a flat back and stays rock steady. Can he produce the power to win? 

Dumoulin stops the clock in a time of 9:57. 

After all Dumoulin's doubts and problems last year, that shows he's in great form.

Race leader and stage 1 winner Jasper Philipsen is out on the TT course. He knows he will lose the red jersey today but is focused on the next sprint finish. 

Bissegger has been sat in the hot seat for a long time but is about to celebrate his stage win. 

Here's Bissegger in his superb TT position.

And here is Ganna.

Cavendish sets a time of 10:32.

The Manxman cleary went for it and is breathing deep. 

Dmitrii Strakhov of Gazprom-RusVelo leads the points competition after going in the attacks. He sets 10:41.  

Jasper Philipsen is faster in 10:11. He also went full gas. 

He was fighting to try to keep the red jersey but he is just off the mark by a few seconds.

Here's Pogacar in action.

Bissegger is confirmed as the stage winner. 

Bissegger set a blistering time of 9:43 on the 9-kilometre out-and-back course in Ajman, beating Ganna, who has already won two time trials this season, by a full seven seconds. 

Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) clinched the final podium spot at 14 seconds. 

Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) produced a spirited attempt to defend his overall lead, placing 10th, but the red jersey slips from his shoulders and passes over to Bissegger. 

Bissegger had a full aero set-up, with the the POC helmet, long sleeve jersey and shin-high aero socks. 

The 20km Jebel Jais summit finish comes on Wednesday.

No pressure. 

Stefan Bissegger was as composed after his win as he was rurig his superb ride in the TT. 

He added: 

Can Bissegger keep the race lead on Wednesday's mountain finish? Probably not. 

This shot shows' Bissegger's aero position. 

This shot of Ganna shows the difference in positions between the Italian and Bissegger.

EF team manager is also happy, congratulating all his staff. 

Here's a great shot of Dumoulin at speed. 

To read our full stage report and to see the stage results and our growing photo gallery, click below. 

Here's Adam Yates at speed. He's clearly been working on his TT position with Ineos Grenadiers.

Thanks for joining our live coverage of the time trial.  We'll be back on Wednesday for full coverage of the 182km stage 4 from Fujairah Fort on the east coast of the UAE all the way up to Jebel Jais in the north. 

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