Rubio Climbs to Victory in Stage 3 of UAE Tour

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02/22/2023| 0 comments
Einer Rubio of Team Movistar in today's UAE Tour
Einer Rubio on his way to victory in stage 3 of UAE Tour 2023 RCS Sport - Sprint

Rubio Climbs to Victory in Stage 3 of UAE Tour

Einer Rubio wins stage 3 of UAE Tour 2023 for Team Movistar as Remco Evenepoel takes overall race lead

Wednesday’s 185-kilometer stage 3 welcomed the peloton to the first mountain challenge of this year’s UAE Tour. Substituting flat roads of harbors and windy roads through sandstorm-plagued deserts for uphill kilometers, race organizers had designed a thrilling route from Al Fujairah beach to the top of Jebel Jais – a 19-kilometer climb to the finish line featuring gradients of up to 7.2 percent.

The stage was won my Movistar Team’s Einer Rubio who attacked from the front group approximately 10 kilometers from the finish line managed to stay away from ferociously chasing riders, including World Champion Remco Evenepoel who had put a mark next to today’s date in his racing calendar. 

Rubio crossed the finish line in 04:51:24 followed by Evenepoel 14 seconds later who thereby took the race lead in the general classification. Adam Yates finished third for his UAE Team Emirates outfit.

Today’s stage was dominated by a four-man breakaway group that formed shortly after the start of the stage. The group featured Oier Lazkano (Movistar Team), Alpecin-Deceuninck’s Edward Planckaert, and Filippo Magli and Riccardo Lucca of Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizane. The four riders managed to build a lead of almost six minutes before the main peloton increased the pace and started reeling in the breakaway hopefuls in preparation of a fierce battle on the final mountain. As the peloton closed in on the lead group, Lazkano pressed on in solo fashion before he was overtaken by teammate Rubio who had attacked from behind. 

"This result was more than I expected,” stage winner Rubio explained to after being celebrated on the podium. “The goal was to hold the wheels of the favorites on that last climb, but I saw an opportunity to attack and I had enough strength to stay ahead until the end.” 

“I knew the peloton was closing the gap but I kept a steady pace, and I didn't know I had actually won the stage until about one kilometer from the finish line. I was hoping to do well at the UAE Tour after I started on the right foot in Argentina. I showed my potential and now I can finally take advantage of it. Now I am very confident that 2023 will be a good year for me."

New race leader Evenepoel tried to hide his disappointment with not having won the stage. "What I achieved today is good for team morale and it is a good sign for the stages to come, but a seven second lead in the GC is not a lot - although I know it's better than having a zero second lead”.

“The Jebel Hafeet climb on Sunday is going to be different because it's a steeper climb. I’m not a very explosive climber, but every year I become a bit stronger, and that showed today. I know from training camps that I can beat some fast punchers on uphill sprints, but it’s not my main goal to work on that,” Evenepoel concluded.

Former race leader Luke Plapp (Ineos-Grenadiers) told he wasn’t disappointed to have lost the overall race lead after today’s stage. "I expected to lose the lead to Remco (Evenepoel) today. He’s the World Champion for a reason and that was as close as I could get. Remco is the strongest cyclist in the world. You saw how strong he was at the finish. The team looked after me all day and I gave all I had in the sprint, and I hope I have more cards to play later in the week."

Following today’s stage 3 Evenepoel leads the UAE Tour general classification 7 seconds ahead of Ineos-Grenadiers’ Luke Plapp and 11 seconds ahead of Pello Bilbao of Team Bahrain-Victorious.

Tomorrow’s stage 4 is a 174-kilometer ride from Al Shindagha to Dubai Harbor.

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