Abu Dhabi: Germany’s Phil Bauhaus won a photo-finish sprint on Stage 3 of the 2018 Abu Dhabi Tour on Friday.
The Team Sunweb rider edged out two other Germans, Katusha-Alpecin rider Marcel Kittel and Pascal Ackerman of Bora-Hansgrohe, in a photo finish to take the plaudits.
Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors), was fourth across the line to retain the lead in the General Classification. On the podium he was rewarded with the race leader’s Red Jersey, sponsored by Al Maryah Island, and also the points leader’s Green Jersey, sponsored by Emirates Post.
Speaking after his dramatic victory, Bauhaus said: “It’s hard to expect a win in such a star-studded field of sprinters but I knew I had a very good team here. I also knew I worked really well at home before coming to Abu Dhabi so my goal was to make the podium once or win a stage.
“I’m really happy it worked out today. It’s a relief for the team to get the first win of the year. I hope it continues like this tomorrow with Tom Dumoulin and Wilco Kelderman in the time trial and the last stage.
“I wasn’t sure that I’d won when I crossed the line. It was really close, especially with Marcel Kittel coming very fast from behind.
“I was super happy when I was told I won. I came in good position behind Elia Viviani in the last corner and I could start my sprint from his back wheel. I’m very proud to take the win against those big names.
“Every win is important. This one is different from last year’s at the Dauphine.
“It’s early in the season. It’s also the first win for our team. We’ll build our confidence up on the win I got today.”
Race leader Viviani added: “We were where we wanted to be in the last corner. It’s not easy to plan a sprint. Fabio Sabatini left me with 150m to go, which wasn’t far out but yet, some guys came from behind.
“We missed [teammate Michael] Morkov who had a puncture with 5km to go but [Alvaro] Hodeg replaced him very well, so it’s not an excuse.
“I did a good sprint but the Germans did an even better sprint.
“It’s cool to ride the time trial tomorrow with the Red Jersey. I’ll go full gas to respect the jersey even though it’s probably four kilometres too long for me to defend the lead and I might go for the intermediate sprint on Sunday to win the points classification.”
Intermediate sprints leader Nikolai Trusov said: “Our goal at the start of today’s stage was that I’d make the breakaway to defend the jersey of the intermediate sprints. But I couldn’t do it. After the first intermediate sprint, we realised that a Bardiani CSF rider [Marco Maronese] was threatening my lead, so to save the jersey, we had to close the gap and go for the second sprint. It’s very nice to remain at the top of this classification and we’ll fight for it till the very end of the Abu Dhabi Tour.”
Stage 4’s 12.6-km Individual Time Trial is held entirely on wide and mostly straight roads with relatively broad bends. The U-turn and time check point are at 7.1 kilometres.
1 Phil Bauhaus (Team Sunweb) 133km in 3h02’55”, average speed 43.626km/h
2 Marcel Kittel (Team Katusha Alpecin) same time
3 Pascal Ackermann (Bora - Hansgrohe) same time
4 Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) same time
5 Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton - Scott) same time
The Red Jersey, sponsored by the Al Maryah Island (General individual classification by time) - Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors)
The Green Jersey, sponsored by Emirates Post (General individual classification by points) - Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors)
The White Jersey, sponsored by Abu Dhabi Sports Channel (Best Young Rider born after 1 January 1993) - Phil Bauhaus (Team Sunweb)
The Black Jersey, sponsored by Etihad Airways (Intermediate Sprint Jersey Classification) - Nikolay Trusov (Gazprom - Rusvelo)
1 Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors)
2 Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) at 3s
3 Phil Bauhaus (Team Sunweb) at 3s