Adam Yates annihilates the field on Jebel Hafeet during stage three of the UAE Tour 2020

Tadej Pogačar put in a stand-out ride but just couldn't close the Brit

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Adam Yates tore the race to pieces on Jebel Hafeet at the climax of stage three of the UAE Tour 2020.

The Brit launched the decisive attack with around 6km left to ride of the 10km climb, with only Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) for company.

Yates then kicked again at the 5km mark and his rivals were unable to follow, when Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) fired from the peloton with a staggering acceleration.

Pogačar easily passed Lutsenko and Gaudu, but was unable to close the gap to a storming Yates, who rode alone to victory with a minute to spare over the Slovenian.

Race leader at the start of the day Caleb Ewan sat up before the climb, so Yates moves into the race lead with a very comfortable buffer over Pogačar in second.

How it happened

Stage three of the UAE Tour, the longest day at 184km, featured the first of two ascents of the Jebel Hafeet climb in this year’s race.

Running from the Al Qudra Cycling Track just outside of Dubai to the Jebel Hafeet climb on the Oman border, the course was almost completely flat for the first 170km, with the road ramping up with 10.6km to the line.

The final ascent, which saw Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) triumph last year, is seven per cent average gradient, with maximum slopes of around 10 per cent.

As the stage was almost guaranteed to come down to the overall favourites battling on the final climb, the stage unfolded slowly and breakaway attacks only came after around 20km of racing.

Eventually four riders made it clear of the bunch, as Jasper De Buyst (Lotto-Soudal), Victory Campenaerts (NTT Pro Cycling), Stijn Steels (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Umberto Marengo (Vini Zabù-KTM) set up the day’s move.

The biggest challenge the escapees faced was the heat, as temperatures were above 30 degrees in Dubai, as they built their advantage to five minutes before the peloton started to close down the move.

A crash took down a handful of riders inside 100km, including Carlos Rodriguez from Team Ineos.

With 50km to race, the gap was down to three minutes, with no action breaking out on the flat desert roads, but Campenaerts particularly looked to be struggling in the heat.

As the race neared the bottom of the climb, the gap fell to under 30 seconds and the breakaway were finally caught early on the ascent.

A grupetto formed immediately, with Mark Cavendish (Bahrain-McLaren) and Caleb Ewan accepting their fate and sitting up, with Chris Froome (Team Ineos) also losing contact.

Attacks began to flow off the front of the peloton, with the pace causing some surprises as James Knox (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) was dropped and Alejandro Valverde looked to be suffering.

CCC Team were determined, as Victor de la Parte spent some time up the road, but Yates was the first of the favourites to launch a full attack, firing off with 6km to the line as Lutsenko and Gaudu were the only pair able to follow.

Yates went again 5km from the line and that was the fatal blow, as Lutsenko and Gaudu couldn’t follow.

Pogačar saw his error in missing Yates’s move and went full gas to try to catch the leader, absolutely powering past Lustenko and Gaudu.

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Yates eased off as Pogačar pursued, before hopping out of the saddle once again and making his last dash for the line.

The 27-year-old Brit crossed the line well clear of Pogačar, eventually finishing with 1-02 over the Slovenian who took second, while Lustenko was the best of the rest 90 seconds behind the winner.

Yates is now overall leader with 1-07 over Pogačar.

UAE Tour 2020, stage three: Al Qudra Cycling Track to Jebel Hafeet (184km)

1. Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott, in 4-42-33

2. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott, at 1-03

3. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana, at 1-30

4. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ

5. Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe, all at same time

6. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, at 1-56

7. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe

8.Gorka Izagirre (Esp) Astana

9. Jesús Herrada (Esp) Cofidis

10. Eddie Dunbar (Irl) Team Ineos, all at same time

General classification after stage three

1. Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott, in 12-30-02

2. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott, at 1-07

3. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana, at 1-35

4. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 1-40

5. Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe, at same time

6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb, at 2-06

7. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates

8. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe

9. Jesús Herrada (Esp) Cofidis

10. Eddie Dunbar (Irl) Team Ineos, all at same time

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