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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, February 23, 2022

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UAE Tour stage three news

We posted the report from stage winner Stefan Bissegger's EF Education-EasyPost team with the results.

Here's the report from second-place Filippo Ganna's INEOS Grenadiers team:

Filippo Ganna continued his impressive time trial form as he finished second in challenging conditions on stage 3 of UAE Tour.

Filippo Ganna racing to a fine second place. UAE Tour photo

Ganna was just seven seconds behind stage winner Stefan Bissegger (EF Education-Easypost) in changeable wind conditions and moves up to second overall.

Adam Yates also put in an impressive performance to finish 12th on the stage to move him into the top 10 overall ahead of the first mountain test of the race.

Michal Kwiatkowski finished 17th on the windy 9km test to make it three Grenadiers in the top 20. Luke Plapp tackled the TT on a road bike after a small crash in the recon on his time trial bike caused a mechanical issue that could not be fixed before his start time.

Filippo Ganna:
“I did a great performance. The average power was more than the plan and at the end of the day, chapeau Bissegger. That’s a great ride.

“I felt good and also for the next few days, I’ll be ready to help Adam, starting on tomorrow’s climb.”

Adam Yates:
“It didn’t feel like a good ride! The first TT of the year is always super hard. I followed the plan and did all I could do.

“It’s the first mountain stage tomorrow but it’s not super hard - last year there was a group of 30 at the finish. It’s the second mountain stage that will create the biggest gaps - but it’s the first mountain stage of the year and we’ll give it a crack.”

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Here's the UAE Tour stage three report from third-place Tom Dumolin's Jumbo-Visma team:

Tom Dumoulin has finished third in the time trial at the UAE Tour. The Dutch champion covered the flat course of exactly nine kilometres in just under ten minutes. Due to this performance, Dumoulin moved up to fourth place in the general classification.

The course was very fast. In Ajman, the riders only had to make one turn during the nine-kilometre race. Dumoulin got off to a good start and maintained his smooth cadence until the finish. Only fellow time trial specialists Stefan Bissegger and Filippo Ganna proved faster than Dumoulin.

Tom Dumoulin time-trialing at the 2020 World's. Sirotti photo

“I’m satisfied with this performance”, Dumoulin said. “I finished behind two true specialists. So I have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. The course was perfect for them. I prefer a longer and more hilly course. Still I became third, which makes me very happy. It is good to ride on a course like this in competition.”

In the general classification Dumoulin did good business. “It gives me confidence that I was able to create a small gap on the other classification riders. There are a lot of guys who are right behind me, but today I gave myself a good position for the rest of the week. I’m looking forward to the next few days with a good feeling.”

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Tadej Pogačar's UAE Team Emirates posted this report:

After two sprint stages, the UAE Tour general classification battle began to heat up on day 3 with a 9 kilometre time trial based in Ajman.

The best finisher for the Emirati squad was reigning UAE Tour champion Tadej Pogačar with a time of 10:02 in fourth place, averaging a blistering speed of 53.9kmph.

He was followed closely behind by his teammates Joao Almeida and Mikkel Bjerg who finished in 5th and 6th place respectively. The stage honours went to Stefan Bissegger (EF-EasyPost) who also becomes the new race leader.

Tadej Pogačar in the red leader's jersey at the 2021 UAE Tour.

Pogačar: “It was a really fast course with a big tail wind on the way out and then on the way back it was just down to raw power. I did my strongest 10 minutes ever so I’m pretty happy, it was a good day out and we’re looking strong for the next days.

Joao and Mikkel were well up there today also so in the team the guys are all up around the top. We’re all feeling good and in fine shape for the rest of this race. Tomorrow the first mountain stage will be another big test.”

Tomorrow the first mountain stage which will surely see another shake-up in the general classification from Fujairah Fort to Jebel Jais (181km).

Team Groupama-FDJ posted this stage three update:

Before heading to some summit finishes in the next few days, the UAE Tour’s riders were to tackle a short, nine-kilometre time trial in Ajman on Tuesday. Stefan Bissegger beat the reigning world champion Filippo Ganna for the win, while Arnaud Démare put on a good effort to take sixteenth place on the stage. Tomorrow, the bunch will head to Jebel Jais’ mountain-top finish after nineteen kilometres of climbing.

After two bunch sprints, stage 3 of the UAE Tour was clearly a time trial made for pure specialists on Tuesday. The straightforward course in Ajman was then not supposed to bring any surprises. “It was a nine-kilometre time trial with just a roundabout to turn around,” said Sébastien Joly, a sports director of the Groupama-FDJ cycling team. “There was rather a tailwind on the outward journey and quite logically a headwind on the return trip, which resulted in a small speed differential between the two parts”.

Jacopo Guarnieri, Ignatas Konovalovas and Ramon Sinkeldam were the first team members to complete the race. Clément Davy later came on the starting pad, and the young Frenchman established a decent mark in 10’29”. Miles Scotson did better in 10’22” twenty minutes later but it was eventually Arnaud Démare who set the best time for Groupama-FDJ in 10’16”. This allowed him to take sixteenth place on the stage, thirty-three seconds behind winner Stefan Bissegger.

“Arnaud is very happy with his time trial”, said Sébastien. “It also enabled him to make a good ten-minute effort. In terms of his preparation, it is very good for his future goals. Miles might be a little disappointed, but when you look at the standings, there are actually very good time trial riders here. Therefore, it is not so bad. This time trial was not properly a goal, but we are now used, whatever the races, to being very concentrated on these events. That’s what we did today. Everyone was entirely committed.

"It was still an unusual time trial because we don’t have all the infrastructure that we normally have in Europe, but all the staff supported the riders in the best possible way, and it was a good organization”. After this race against time, Arnaud Démare sits in fourteenth place overall, but the former French champion will not be on his terrain on Wednesday. “Tomorrow, it’s a mountaintop finish so we’ll go with Matteo”, added Sébastien. “We will place him as good as possible at the bottom so that he can do his own thing on this climb”.

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And here's the UAE Tour report from Fausto Masnada's Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team:

Tuesday afternoon found the riders in Ajman, the country’s fifth-largest city, for a 9km pancake-flat individual time trial that suited the powerful specialists of the discipline. Fausto Masnada was not among them, but that didn’t stop the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider from producing a good ITT.

Fausto Masnada last week winning stage four of the Tour of Oman.

Runner-up last week at the Tour of Oman, where he took a spectacular solo victory in Muscat, Masnada had a solid start which saw him pass through the 4.5km split just a couple of seconds off the lead. The headwind in the second part of the course complicated matters a bit, but Fausto kept the temp high and slotted into the top 10 provisional after averaging over 52km/h. As more and more favourites concluded the stage, he moved down a couple of places in the standings, but his time of 10:21 was enough for a top 20 result and a jump of 32 places in the general classification.

“This was my first time trial of the year, so I didn’t know quite what to expect. I’m not a specialist, but I’m working hard to get better in this area and I can be satisfied with today’s result and good ride. It’s a boost of confidence ahead of Wednesday’s stage”, said the 28-year-old, now 16th overall, before the first summit finish of the race.

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