Ajman: Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar of Team UAE Emirates kept himself in the hunt when he finished fourth in the third stage of the UAE Tour, a 9km time trial in Ajman, on Tuesday. Switzerland’s Stefan Bissegger, who leads the general classification, won the stage.
EF Education rider Bissegger completed the course in nine minutes and 43 seconds, edging out world time trial champion Filippo Ganna by seven seconds.
Jumbo-Visma’s Tom Dumoulin, racing for the first time this season, was seven seconds further back in third.
Slovenian Pogacar, who recently recovered from a bout of Covid-19, showed strong form to put himself in a good position to defend his overall title.
He is now lurking in fifth position, 18 secs back.
Mark Cavendish finished the time trial 49 seconds of the pace to go third in the overall standings, just six seconds off Philipsen. Britain’s Adam Yates landed himself in 12th in the time trial, 16th in the overall standings and 16 seconds behind top spot.
Wednesday’s fourth stage is a 181km ride from Fujairah to Jebel Jais, ending with a summit finish. This is the first of two most likely decisive mountain stages in the UAE Tour. It is divided into two distinctly different parts: the first being an undulating approach to the final mountain through the desert and the second being the last 20km or so of continuous climbing to the finish.
Departure is from Fujairah, crossing the desert areas on the edge of the Hajar Mountains towards Ras Al Khaimah, whose capital city is not crossed by the race, which heads directly towards Jebel Jais. The stage’s final climb is around 20km in length at an almost constant 5 per cent, with slightly steeper gradients of around 7-9 per cent in the last 2km.
Stage 3 (Ajman to Ajman, 9 km, Individual time trial)
Stefan Bissegger SUI (EF Education - EasyPost)
1 Stefan Bissegger SUI (EF Education - EasyPost)
2 Filippo Ganna ITA (INEOS Grenadiers)
3 Tom Dumoulin NED (Jumbo - Visma)
Still to come
Feb 23-Stage 4 Fujairah to Jebel Jais, 181 km, Road race.
Feb 24-Stage 5 Ras al Khaimah to Al Marjan Island, 182 km, Road race.
Feb 25-Stage 6 Dubai to Dubai, 180 km, Road race.
Feb 26-Stage 7 Al Ain to Jebel Hafeet, 148 km, Road race.