Jebel Hafeet, 25 February 2017 – The Portuguese rider Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (UAE Abu Dhabi) won Stage 3 of the 2017 Abu Dhabi Tour, the 186km queen stage of the race, from Al Ain to Jebel Hafeet, thereby taking the lead in the overall General Classification. On the podium he was rewarded with the race leader’s Red Jersey, sponsored by Al Maryah Island.
Stage 3 of the Abu Tour Dhabi from Al Ain to Jebel Hafeet lived up to its billing as the “queen stage” and kingmaker of this year’s race, as Rui Costa of the locally-based UAE Abu Dhabi team secured a win on the day, the Red Jersey of overall leader and the status of champion elect with one day to go. Costa pipped Ilnur Zakarin (Team Katusha Alpecin) on the spectacular moonscape of Jebel Hafeet after that pair had surprised pre-race favourites Alberto Contador (Trek – Segafredo), Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain – Merida) and Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team) by attacking six kilometres from the line. With just tomorrow’s grandstand finale on the Yas Marina Circuit still to ride, Mark Cavendish wears the Green Jersey as leader of the General Points Classification, Julian Alaphilippe heads the Young Classification and has the White Jersey, while Marco Canola faces a fight to keep his Intermediate Sprint Classification Black Jersey.
1 – Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (UAE Abu Dhabi) 186km in 4h34’08”, average speed 40.710km/h
2 – Ilnur Zakarin (Team Katusha Alpecin) s.t.
3 – Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) at 10″
1 – Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (UAE Abu Dhabi)
2 – Ilnur Zakarin (Team Katusha Alpecin) at 4″
3 – Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) at 16″
4 – Bauke Mollema (Trek – Segafredo) at 38″
5 – Rafal Majka (Bora – Hansgrohe) at 56″
- The Red Jersey, sponsored by the Al Maryah Island (General individual classification by time) – Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (UAE Abu Dhabi)
- The Green Jersey, sponsored by Nation Towers (General individual classification by points) – Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data)
- The White Jersey, sponsored by Abu Dhabi Sports Channel (Best Young Rider born after 1 January 1992) – Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors)
- The Black Jersey, sponsored by Etihad Airways (Intermediate Sprint Jersey Classification) – Marco Canola (Nippo – Vini Fantini)
Speaking seconds after the stage finish, the winner and new Red Jersey said: “I started the final climb a long way back and I had to put a lot of effort in to reach the front of the peloton. When I got there I realised that my legs were good and I tried to surprise the others with an attack from a long way out. That was the right tactic. I was still suffering from the initial effort so I saved myself with Zakarin at the end to recuperate for the final sprint. For us it was very important to have a great result here. I can’t say I was under pressure but psychologically I knew we had to perform at our best. We won and there couldn’t be a better result. We are extremely happy for this victory here in Abu Dhabi, with a new sponsor and a brand new jersey. I’m very happy with this victory that will boost my morale for the remainder of the season”.