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Abu Dhabi Tour stage 3 Estonian takes control of the race lead Mekseb Debesay (Eri) Dimension Data tokk 3rd place


Tanel Kangert (Astana) soloed to victory on the Jebel Hafeet on stage 3 of the Abu Dhabi Tour. He topped Nicolas Roche (Team Sky) by 17 seconds after the two broke away on the final climb, with Mekseb Debesay (Dimension Data) taking an impressive third place. Kangert now leads Roche in the overall classification by 21 seconds.

“Yesterday, Vincenzo told me that he was going to work for me today and I knew that I had a chance to do something. If I have the chance then I really have to use it and luckily I had the legs today,” said Kangert.

“We knew from the start that we had two good climbers here, Vincenzo and, if I had good legs, I knew that I could also be there. Luckily, I had a good day and that was the tactic, we just had to be there in the final. For a moment, it was quite hectic with the side wind but luckily our team was really good and strong in the beginning, and they protected us from the crosswinds. I arrived on the climb quite fresh.

“I think he [Roche] was more tired than I was, and I was a little bit afraid of a headwind in the final but luckily the wind changed direction.”

With 10-kilometre climb to the finish, stage 3 of the Abu Dhabi Tour was a crucial one for the overall classification. It started calmly enough with Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing), Michael O’Loughlin (WIGGINS), Marco Coledan (Trek-Segafredo) and Evgeny Shalunov (Gazprom-Rusvelo) getting away in the opening kilometres. The quartet was allowed over five minutes of an advantage before crosswinds caused a stirring of action in the bunch behind.

Team Sky led the charge when the gusts hit the peloton with just under 60 kilometres to the line. Their efforts did some damage, forcing the peloton into three groups and bringing the leaders to within two minutes. The shake-up didn’t have any serious victims as all the main contenders made the cut, along with race leader Mark Cavendish.

Sensing the closing pack, Van Avermaet gave a few furtive looks over his shoulder before he and his companions were finally brought back with just over 30 kilometres remaining. The Olympic champion wasn’t quite done yet and he had another punt off the front with Movistar’s Francisco Ventoso. Their effort was doomed though and he would barely make it to the climb before they were caught again.

As Van Avermaet was brought back to heel, Carlos Verona made strong attack and built a lead of over 30 seconds. Behind, Roche continued the pressure put on by his Sky teammates earlier in the stage, joined by Kangert. The increased pace whittled down the group of contenders to a very select group, which included Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff). It also demolished the lead that Verona had worked so hard to build and the Spaniard was caught with six kilometres still to go.

Verona tried to hang on to Roche and Kangert but he soon found himself distanced. Jesper Hansen (Tinkoff) saw an opportunity and attacked into the gap but didn’t have the power to bridge the gap to the two leaders, who were now 30 seconds up on the main chasing group.

With three kilometres to go Roche cracked, slipping back on the steepest part of the climb. The Sky rider managed to hold the gap at first, but it proved the definitive moment and Kangert would go on to take the stage win and the overall lead.

Brief Results

# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team 3:31:31
2 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sky 0:00:17
3 Mekseb Debesay (Eri) Dimension Data 0:00:33
4 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre – Merida
5 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff Team 0:00:50
6 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team
7 Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:52
8 Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:01:19
9 Martijn Tusveld (Ned) Giant Alpecin 0:01:28
10 Jesper Hansen (Den) Tinkoff Team
General Classification
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team 9:19:44
2 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sky 0:00:21
3 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre – Merida 0:00:43
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:00
5 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff Team
6 Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:02
7 Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:01:29
8 Martijn Tusveld (Ned) Giant Alpecin 0:01:38
9 Winner Anacona (Col) Movistar
10 Jesper Hansen (Den) Tinkoff Team