Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) claimed the “Queen” stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour today, after beating Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) in a two-man sprint to the summit of Jebel Hafeet.
Simone Andreetta (Bardiani CSF), Pavel Brutt (Gazprom-Rusvelo), Stephen Clancy (Team Novo Nordisk) and Alan Marangoni (Nippo-Vini Fvantini), came to form the day’s breakaway group early on in the stage.
From there, the escapees went on to establish a sizable advantage of around five minutes over the peloton.
Back in the peloton, the chase was briefly hampered by strong winds, allowing the breakaway group more license to slightly extend its lead.
However, with 15 kilometers remaining, the peloton was successful in reining the escapees, giving the main field ample time to prepare for the the summit finish atop Jebel Hafeet.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) was the first rider to attack along the climb, but the Colombian rider’s effort was quickly neutralized by his rivals.
Rui Costa was the next rider to attack, who was later joined by Zakarin.
Tom Dumoulin then tried to bridge his way to the two leaders, but the Dutch rider failed to close the gap during the final kilometer – despite going into full “time trial” mode.
Rui Costa easily out-sprinted his Russian rival to seize the stage honors and take the lead in the overall classification.
Meanwhile, Dumoulin finished third ahead of compatriot Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), followed by Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors), who won the sprint for fifth place.
“I started the final climb a long way back and I had to put a lot of effort in to reach the front of the peloton,” Rui Costa said at the finish.
“When I got there I realised that my legs were good and I tried to surprise the others with an attack from a long way out. That was the right tactic. I was still suffering from the initial effort so I saved myself with Zakarin at the end to recuperate for the final sprint. For us it was very important to have a great result here.”
“I can’t say I was under pressure but psychologically I knew we had to perform at our best. We won and there couldn’t be a better result. We are extremely happy for this victory here in Abu Dhabi, with a new sponsor and a brand new jersey. I’m very happy with this victory that will boost my morale for the remainder of the season”.
Stage 3 Results
POR 1 FARIA DA COSTA, Rui Alberto (UAE Team Emirates) 4:34:08
RUS 2 ZAKARIN, Ilnur (KATUSHA ALPECIN)
NED 3 DUMOULIN, Tom (SUNWEB) + 10
NED 4 MOLLEMA, Bauke (TREK – SEGAFREDO) + 28
FRA 5 ALAPHILIPPE, Julian (QUICK – STEP FLOORS) + 46
ITA 6 ARU, Fabio (ASTANA)
POL 7 MAJKA, Rafal (BORA – HANSGROHE)
NZL 8 BENNETT, George (LOTTO NL – JUMBO)
ITA 9 POZZOVIVO, Domenico (AG2R LA MONDIALE)
COL 10 QUINTANA, Nairo (MOVISTAR) + 58
General Classification after Stage 3
POR 1 FARIA DA COSTA, Rui Alberto (UAE Team Emirates) 12:39:15
RUS 2 ZAKARIN, Ilnur (KATUSHA ALPECIN) + 4
NED 3 DUMOULIN, Tom (SUNWEB) + 16
NED 4 MOLLEMA, Bauke (TREK – SEGAFREDO) + 38
POL 5 MAJKA, Rafal (BORA – HANSGROHE) + 56
NZL 6 BENNETT, George (LOTTO NL – JUMBO)
ITA 7 ARU, Fabio (ASTANA)
ITA 8 POZZOVIVO, Domenico (AG2R LA MONDIALE)
FRA 9 ALAPHILIPPE, Julian (QUICK – STEP FLOORS)
FRA 10 BARDET, Romain (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 1:08
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