Yates demolishes the field to take victory on stage three of the UAE Tour

Tue 25 Feb 2020

Adam Yates has climbed to his first race win of the season in a dominant display up the Jebel Hafeet climb on stage three of the UAE Tour

The Brit launched his attack inside the final six kilometres, initially taking two riders with him before attacking again to win solo by over one minute at the line.

Nervous Start

In contrast to the previous two days, the start of stage three was a hectic one with a brief threat of wind making for a nervous bunch. Mitchelton-SCOTT we’re keeping a watching eye on proceedings before a break was eventually allowed to go clear.

The four rider move opened up a gap of over seven minutes as the peloton eased up before it settled around the five minute mark for most of the stage. Several crashes caused some unrest in the peloton until UAE-Team Emirates increased the tempo and took control.

The race came to life with around 20 kilometres to go as various teams began to bring their general classification contenders up to the front. The increase in pace saw the gap to the break shrink rapidly and it was all back together at the foot of the climb.

Jebel Hafeet

Slovenian Luka Mezgec set a strong pace for Yates on the lower slopes before Ethiopian Tsgabu Grmay took over to control the gap to a lone attacker. Having seen enough, Yates launched his move, racing past the lone leader with two riders for company.

With little commitment from his fellow attackers, Yates jumped again with five kilometres to go and opened up a gap of 40 seconds. Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates) attempted to chase, but he couldn’t make any inroads to the advantage of the flying Brit who raced away to take the stage by over one minute.

The victory propels Yates into the overall race lead by a margin of 1'07", with tomorrow's flat stage to come before another summit finish up Jebel Hafeet on stage five.

Adam Yates:
"It is my first race of the season, so it was difficult for me to estimate where I stood compared to the competition. Certainly with today's heat, it’s difficult to estimate, I think it was 37 to 38 degrees all day. I just wanted to test the legs to see where I am."

“That was perhaps a little too early [to attack], but I felt good. A few boys came along and behind me I could see that they organised themselves. I just went for it then.”

“I just want to say thanks for the team for supporting me. They supported me and trusted me, and here we are with the win. I came to look at the climb two or three days before the race, and that helped, to know the climb and know the gradient. It's paid off."

Julian Dean (Sports Director):
“It was a really gutsy effort by Adam. He’s confident and came in here really confident, he’s had a good winter, he’s been training hard, spending time at altitude and doing all the right things and when you come to your first race of the season you can enter with confidence as he’s done and perform like he did today.

"It’s a pretty big stamp that he’s put on the rest of the field today, a big gap there over one minute. There’s still some work to do, we’ve got a couple of windy days coming up as well so that will be quite nervous. We’ll try and get through those and we’ll be back here in two days time."

UAE Tour Stage 3:
1. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 4:42:33
2. Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates) +1:02
3. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team) +1:30

UAE Tour General Classification:
1. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 12:30:02
2. Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates) +1:07
3. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team) +1:35

Photos courtesy of Getty Images.