Remco Evenepoel takes UAE Tour lead at Jebel Jais finish

The world champ comes in just behind lone stage winner Einer Augusto Rubio, with Adam Yates third

UAE Tour
(Image credit: Dario Belingheri / Getty)

Remco Evenepoel is the new leader of the UAE Tour, after coming in second on stage three's summit finish and nabbing the bonus seconds.

The stage, which finished atop the long climb of Jebel Jais, was won by young Colombian Einer Augusto Rubio of Movistar, who escaped with around 10km to ride and held off a reduced peloton to the line.

Adam Yates, leading UAE Team Emirates in what is its home race, led in a reduced bunch for third place on the stage, and still lies in 10th place on GC, 1.12 down on world champion Evenepoel (Soudal-Quick Step).

The day took riders 185km from Al Fujairah north to Jebel Jais, a 19km climb averaging 5.6%, peppered with steeper sections of around 7%. It loomed over the stage which became essentially a waiting game for those final 19km.

Edward Plankaert (Alpecin-Deceuninck) attacked right from the gun and was quickly joined by three others: Oier Lazkano (Movistar), Riccardo Lucca (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè) and his teammate Filippo Magli. Lazkano ultimately chipped off the front of the quartet with around 50km to go, managing to hold on until he was around a quarter of the way up the final climb, while the other three slowly sank back towards the bunch.

Despite its prominence on the stage, Jebel Jais was ultimately too easy to provoke big-name fireworks. A wide open road with a great surface and relatively sedate incline looked as though it might prove impossible for anyone to escape – indeed no one has managed to cleave out more than a few seconds' advantage at this finish since the UAE Tour started.

Yates's UAE Team Emirates squad drilled it on the front and successfully reduced the bunch by quite some margin, though at one point Yates could be seen remonstrating with other teams, presumably pointing out that UAE weren't prepared to do all the work.

Among those who did take to the front was Ineos Grenadiers neo-pro Josh Tarling, who had helped the team to third place in yesterday's team time trial.

Rubio's attack, accompanied by teammate Albert Torres, looked speculative at first, but he was soon out alone with more than 30 seconds in hand. All eyes were on Yates and Evenepoel as the race entered the final couple of kilometres, but little response came and Rubio eventually finished 14sec clear of his chasers for what was his first WorldTour win.

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After cutting his teeth on local and national newspapers, James began at Cycling Weekly as a sub-editor in 2000 when the current office was literally all fields. 

Eventually becoming chief sub-editor, in 2016 he switched to the job of full-time writer, and covers news, racing and features.

A lifelong cyclist and cycling fan, James's racing days (and most of his fitness) are now behind him. But he still rides regularly, both on the road and on the gravelly stuff.