Sprint Showdown on Abu Dhabi Tour Stage 323. February 2018, Big Flag, Abu Dhabi (UAE) — Road Team
Stage 3 was another one for the sprinters in Abu Dhabi with Phil Bauhaus (Team Sunweb) winning the race to the line while all seven BMC Racing Team riders finished safely in the main bunch ahead of the stage 4 time trial.
After a fast start to the day, with the peloton pulling back a flurry of early attacks, four riders were able to go clear and extend an advantage that was sitting at over two minutes after 20km, of the 133km course.
However, with stage 3 providing the final opportunity for the sprinters at the Abu Dhabi Tour, the race was kept under control with the gap never exceeding 2’30”.
All seven BMC Racing Team riders continued to sit up near the front of the main bunch heading into the second half of the stage as an increase in pace saw the advantage of the breakaway begin to tumble.
With 60km to go, the main bunch trailed the leaders by less than one minute and just 10km later, the race had been brought back together in time for the second intermediate sprint.
For the second consecutive day, the race was thrown into chaos as crosswinds once again split the peloton with 45km to go but, it didn’t take long for the various groups to merge once again as the pace eased off momentarily.
Approaching the 20km to go mark, the speed was rising as the battle for position began with teams, including BMC Racing Team, looking to stay well-placed at the front of the bunch before the final run into the line.
There were riders all across the width of the road as they made the final turn onto the finishing straight with Phil Bauhaus (Team Sunweb) going on to take the day’s honors ahead of Marcel Kittell (Team Katusha-Alepcin) and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe).
Following another day of solid teamwork from BMC Racing Team, all seven riders crossed the line safely ahead of the 12.6km individual time trial tomorrow, a key stage for the General Classification contenders.
Quotes From the Finish Line
"Most of the stage went pretty well today. After the break went, we only rolled at the front for a short period before Quick-Step Floors set the tempo. Once again, there were a lot of nerves with the wind especially after yesterday’s split, and that didn’t stop until we crossed the finish line. The team made my day pretty simple though and saved me a lot of energy for the TT tomorrow. I’ll head out and do a couple of laps before the start and learn the corners etc. then it will all be about who’s got the best legs."
Sports Director, Maximilian Sciandri:
"It was a pretty straightforward stage today. The main goal was to stay safe and have no time gaps on the line. After yesterday, we were aware of the potential echelons and the chance of some flat tires at the end, but everything went okay. The guys all came in safe, and they were riding really well together. Tomorrow is a key stage for us. The plan was to come through these first three stages safely and go into the TT and see what happens. Of course, we have Rohan Dennis here to try and go for the GC, but we also have guys like Joey Rosskopf and Miles Scotson who can pull out some good time trials."
Abu Dhabi Tour
Stage 3: Nation Towers > Big Flag, 133km
Top 3: 1. Phil Bauhaus (Team Sunweb) 2. Marcel Kittell (Team Katusha-Alepcin) 3. Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe).
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 24. Patrick Bevin 42. Brent Bookwalter 54. Rohan Dennis