A tough day a top of Jabel Hafeet

The 183km third stage of the UAE Tour is first of two queen stages. The climb to the finish on Jabel Hafeet peaks with an 11% gradient averaging out at 6.8% over 10.8km.The stage started at Al Quadra Cycle track with the whole route being flat until the finish.

It didn’t take long for the peloton to fall apart when the climb started. Only the strongest climbers were left and several attacks were thrown, but they lasted less than 1km. 7km to go the group split in two and our Wout Poels was left in the second group together with Rafa Valls and Eros Capecchi. From there, Yates (Mitchelton Scott) attacked very successfully taking the stage win. In the end, Poels finished 37th, 3:54 behind Yates.

Our SD Pellizotti said: “We started aiming for the win in the stage, but we didn’t finish where we wanted to. I still didn’t speak with Wout, but it’s possible that today’s heat affected him, as it’s been very hot all day – 36 degrees. Maybe Wout is slow starting. If we remember Valenciana, when he finished the first stage, in the climb, he lost a lot of time, but the stage after arrived 2nd. Maybe in in the fifth stage at the same climb we can see him upfront. We’ll go day by day, tomorrow working for Mark, day after again for Wout, for the stage wins, as GC is out of our reach now.”

Eros Capecchi was open: “It was a really hard stage. Personally, I stayed as much as possible with Wout, but for the team, it wasn’t the best day, but we can try in 2 days again.” Asked about the heat, Eros said: “For me, it’s okay like this, but I understand it’s not for everyone.”

Tomorrow’s stage is inside the city limits of Dubai, and it’s a pure sprinter’s stage.

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