photo credits @ WTFK
Einer Rubio (Movistar) soloed to victory atop Jebel Jais in stage 3 of the UAE Tour today, while Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) moved into the overall lead following a late surge along the final climb to finish second.
Evenepoel’s Soudal-QuickStep squad set-out in pursuit of the lone leader along the upper slopes of the climb, with the World Champion commencing his offensive during the final few kilometers, delivering a fierce acceleration that relegated Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates), Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-Qazaqstan) and previous race leader Luke Plapp (Ineos Grenadiers) to third, fourth and fifth places, respectively.
Speaking seconds after the finish, stage winner Einer Rubio said: “This is incredible. It’s my first professional win, on my birthday, and it comes after I encountered so many physical problems since I turned pro. I’m in a great shape now and my team have treated me like a king. The plan was to stay in the wheels but I felt so strong so I went for it. This is a very special day in my sporting career.”
New Red Jersey holder Remco Evenepoel said: “It’s a pity we came so close to the stage win because I had a good sprint at the end, but the Red Jersey is a very nice reward for the team. We had a bit of bad luck on the climb with a few guys dropping back, so we couldn’t execute quite as we’d liked and catched Einer, but my team were really strong today. First, first, second and the Red Jersey in three stages is pretty good though, and this will have been a nice birthday present for Einer.”
A quartet of escapees went on to establish a maximum advantage of 6 minutes over the peloton, with Rubio’s teammate Oier Lazcano being the last fugitive to be reined in with 14 kilometers to go.
With the peloton now intact, Rubio commenced his winning move, with his teammate Albert Torres initially leading the way.
Despite the chase keeping a watchful eye on Rubio, no one amongst the 20-strong lead group could bridge their way to the Spanish rider, who went on to claim a solo victory some 14-seconds ahead of Evenepoel.
Evenepoel is now 7 seconds clear of Plapp at the top of the leader board, with Pello Bilbao third another 4 seconds back, while Yates rose 26 places to enter the top 10.
Sprinters will see opportunities on Thursday, Friday and Saturday before Sunday’s queen stage ending on Jebel Hafeet.
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