Tadej Pogacar extended his lead at the UAE Tour today after the reigning Tour de France champion rode the perfect race in an impressive team performance that gave the Emirati team its first stage win of this year’s UAE Tour.
Stage 3 of the UAE Tour brought the peloton from Strata Manufacturing in Al Ain to the Tour’s first summit finish atop the picturesque Jebel Hafeet.
A high pace was set throughout by the UAE Team Emirates’ team who had Jan Polanc, Davide Formolo and new man Rafal Majka all leading the line on behalf of Pogacar up until the final 5km.
Pogacar’s closest GC rival, Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) pulled clear of the group with about 4km to go with the Slovenian managing to stay on his wheel. With the pressure to win on home soil, Pogacar cooly marked Yates’ wheel and stayed with the Brit at every breakaway attempt.
Yates couldn’t shift Pogacar and with a little under 400 metres to go, Pogacar kicked on and sprinted his way to the finish line, overtaking Yates and racing to UAE Team Emirates’ first stage victory of the 2021 UAE Tour in emphatic fashion.
Tadej Pogacar on his stage victory said: “We wanted a win, we got one. It was a really tough day, kind of stressful because there was a small chance of echelons again, but the team did a super, super good job. We stayed in the right spots in all the race and the guys drove me to the bottom of the climb really good and then set the pace. All I had to do was respond to attacks. It was super hard but I’m super happy to win.”
Pogacar now has an overall lead of 43 seconds on Yates and 1:03 on Almeida in the General Classification standings but insisted the race was not won yet. “There’s still four stages. Anything can happen. There could be echelons and there’s still one more climb. It will be a hard battle until the end.”
Stage 3 Results
- Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 03:58:35
- Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) S.T
- Sergio Higuita (EF Education-Nippo) 00:48”
General Classification after Stage 3
- Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 07:58:30
- Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) 00:43”
- Joao Almeida (Deceuininck-Quickstep 01:43”