Haig, Verona and Kreuziger climb into the top twenty on the Tour of Abu Dhabi mountain top finishSat 25 Feb 2017
Australian Jack Haig climbed to 14th place today on stage three, mountain top finish in the Tour of Abu Dhabi.
The stage was animated by a four-man breakaway which established in the early stages and remained until just 12kilometres to go. Once the peloton began the 10kilometre ascent up to Jebel Hafeet the action kicked off and ORICA-SCOTT remained in the main front group represented by three riders.
Haig, Czech road race champion Roman Kreuziger and Carlos Verona dug deep to stay in contention as riders continued to jump clear with Rui Costa (UAE) eventually claiming the stage honours.
"Jack finished well to be up there too with these guys,” said sport director Dave McPartland. "He said he didn’t feel that special at the bottom of the climb so to finish top twenty it good.”
“It was quite stressful during the day because of the wind today, nothing ever eventuated from it but everybody wanted to try and keep near the front.
“We were happy to just get to the bottom of the climb to put Haig, Carlos and Roman in good position and it was a pretty straight forward objective today just to give these guys the best opportunity to get a result.
“The field of climbers here are incredible, there’s not that many riders missing here from a Tour de France field.
“We have one more chance to try and nail the sprint tomorrow and we will be 100% behind Caleb again tomorrow night.”
How it happened
The one and only climbers stage in the 2017 edition of the race meant for an aggressive finale and a switch up in the general classification.
The 186kilometre day followed a flat, simple round for the majority before concluding with the challenging ascent up to Jebel Hafeet, reaching 1,025metres.
Within the opening ten kilometres four riders attacked and rode away maintaining an advantage up to four-minutes.
Similar to the previous two stages, the escapees were slowly brought back by the controlling peloton and as teams set out in a lead-out fashion towards the base of the climb. The quadruplet were finally consumed just two-kilometres from the ascent.
The much anticipated 10kilometre climb, with an average gradient of 6.6 percent, quickly fragmented the peloton due to a hot pace set by Team Sky and Movistar.
With multiple attacks, the peloton shattered and strung out in one long line with ORICA-SCOTT still represented in the main front group with three riders.
In the final kilometres, two-riders Costa (UAE Team Emirates) and Zakarin (Katusha) attacked to claim the first two placing with the remaining riders crossing the line one after the other.
The team now turn their focus to tomorrow’s final sprint stage.
Tour of Abu Dhabi stage three results:
1.Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) 4:34:08
2. Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) ST
3. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) 0:10
14. Jack Haig (ORICA-SCOTT) 1:05
General classification after stage three:
1.Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) 12:39:15
2. Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) 0:04
3. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) 0:16
Jack Haig (ORICA-SCOTT)
Photos courtesy of ©TDWsport.com