Summit Showdown on Abu Dhabi Stage 322. October 2016, Jebel Hafeet (UAE) — Road Team
Stage 3 of the Abu Dhabi Tour saw Greg Van Avermaet race aggressively to make two breakaways, and Ben Hermans test his climbing legs to finish in eighth place on the summit finish of Jebel Hafeet.
Van Avermaet broke clear after 12km of racing and brought three riders with him to form the first breakaway of the day. The four riders established a five-minute advantage but as the peloton hit the open road and strong winds they picked up the chase and the gap started to close.
The quartet were brought back with 32km to go which made way for more attacks before the start of the Jebel Hafeet climb.
With 19km to go Greg Van Avermaet broke clear with two Movistar Team riders (Lobato and Ventoso) to maintain a small lead just in front of the peloton, before Van Avermaet went solo as he reached the base of the climb.
The reduced peloton caught Van Avermaet 10km before the finish line, following which multiple attacks played out. Hermans was in a group of ten or so riders which battled it out on the climb.
Hermans finished in eighth place, 1’19” behind stage winner Tanel Kangert (Astana Pro Team) and sits in seventh place on the General Classification.
The final stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour sees the peloton tackle 26 laps of the F1 Yas Island circuit.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Ben Hermans: “It was hard, as hard as you want. If you go easy then it’s not so hard as it wasn’t as steep as it looked. It was also a wide road so it was not that difficult but you just needed the legs. I had some legs but they weren’t good enough to do top three and that was the goal today to do a top three or try to win. But I didn’t have the legs and at 5km to go I had to drop from the group and I just paced myself to a top ten finish. I didn’t suffer too much in the echelons because I always had two or three teammates with me in the front. Jempy moved me up every time someone wanted to make an echelon so I was always in the front and then it’s not that difficult.”
Greg Van Avermaet: “There were some attacks in the opening kilometers so I just went and made the breakaway a little bit and once you are there you just want to go for it. I was hoping that the peloton would let me go a little bit and I could come to the climb with a bit of a gap and maybe make it. But they caught be back directly with the echelons so it was hard but we had some fun. When I jumped clear with Lobato and Ventoso it was a bit more of fun I think. It’s hard to do something there because you could take 30 seconds but then you go full gas at the beginning of the climb, so it was more about having some fun on the bike.”
Abu Dhabi Tour
Stage 3: Al Ain > Jebel Hafeet 150km
Top 3: 1. Tanel Kangert (Astana Pro Team), 2. Nicolas Roche (Team Sky), 3. Mekseb Debesay (Team Dimension Data).