Dubai Tour Stage 3: Sand Storms and Echelons Wreak Havoc2. February 2017, Al Aqah (U.A.E) — Road Team
Strong winds on stage 3 of the Dubai Tour made for a chaotic day of racing, causing crashes and echelons mid-way through the 200km stage.
The longest stage of the race was billed as another day for the sprinters and an early breakaway was formed with four riders, including Loïc Vliegen.
The breakaway established a solid advantage of more than five minutes and Vliegen claimed second place in both intermediate sprints to gain four bonus seconds.
As the peloton approached the 70km mark, they turned right after a long straight stretch to be faced with intense crosswinds and a narrow road due to construction.
Silvan Dillier and Joey Rosskopf were caught in an immediate crash but luckily escaped with only road rash.
As the peloton split into three main groups behind the breakaway, the battle was on to bring the groups back together and limit any time loss. Eventually as the winds died down the peloton regrouped and began the chase for the breakaway.
It was with 4km to go that Vliegen was pulled back, making way for the bunch sprint which was won by John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo). Jempy Drucker continued his run of top ten finishes with sixth place in the sprint and sits in fifth place on the General Classification.
The peloton now faces the queen stage, featuring the Hatta Dam climb, which will be a showdown with even stronger winds predicted on stage 4.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“It was pretty fast in the first part of the race and then we were gone with four riders in the breakaway. I was pretty happy to be in the breakaway when I saw the trouble on the road with a lot of sand and a lot of wind, so I think it was easier on the front. But it was a hard day anyway with a lot of wind and almost 200km in the breakaway.”
“At one point in the race I was thinking that a small group might come over to us because the bunch split into three groups, and then maybe we could have stayed away. I don’t think we had much of a chance against the peloton. I have the Young Rider jersey in mind after picking up the bonus seconds but Dylan Groenewegen (Team Lotto-NL Jumbo), who is wearing the jersey, is a really good sprinter so he has been picking up the bonus seconds. Tomorrow is a hard stage so we will have to see how we can sprint in this climb.”
Max Sciandri, Sports Director:
“The winds were there but was made it really, really hard today was the sand. The fine sand and road works and the sand piling up on the side of the road made it dangerous, and that’s how Joey Rosskopf and Silvan Dillier crashed. After a long time on the straight we knew what was around the right hand corner but it was chaos when they turned. The main group split into three and then came back to two groups. Slowly the groups came back together but that was all in about 40km so it wasn’t an easy stretch of racing.”
“Then everyone regained control and they caught the breakaway with Loïc Vliegen. I saw that Daniel Oss made a small attack with 2km to go, and Jempy was sixth in the sprint. The best sprinters in the world are here so Jempy is refining his technique and sprinting abilities. It’s a good learning process for us here and it’s good to see Jempy up there on a stage like today.”
Stage 3 Dubai > Al Aqah (220km)
Top 3: 1. John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo), 2. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (Team Dimension Data), 3. Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team).
BMC Racing Team top 3: 6. Jempy Drucker, 23. Floris Gerts, 25. Joey Rosskopf
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.