Remco Evenepoel takes UAE Tour lead after Jebel Jais summit finish

World champion Remco Evenepoel moved into the race lead of the UAE Tour after finishing 2nd on the Jebel Jais summit finish at the end of Stage 3. The Belgian claimed the bonus seconds behind the solo victory of Einer Augusto Rubio of Movistar. The Colombian attacked with around 10km to go and managed to keep clear all the way to the finish line. Brit Adam Yates finished 3rd as he looks to try and regain some of the time lost to rivals on the wind-strewn Stage 1. Yates is now 10th in GC, still 1’12” on Remco Evenepoel.

Today’s stage was 185km long from Al Fujairah to Jebel Jais. The latter is a long climb of 19km that averages 5.6% and is fairly consistent gradient-wise throughout. Most of the main contenders kept their powder dry until the finale, with nothing of note on the route before reaching Jebel Jais.

The day’s break saw Edward Planckaert of Alpecin-Deuceuninck attack and then joined by Oier Lazkano, Riccardo Lucca and Filippo Magli. Although ultimately all caught, Lazkano stayed out front the longest after attacking his companions with 50km to go and getting caught shortly into the final climb.

Yates had his UAE Team Emirates riders drill up the climb to thin out the peloton but other teams were prepared to let them do the work with their leaders not in any trouble. Eventually Josh Tarling of Ineos Grenadiers was seeing on the front pulling the bunch along too. It wasn’t enough to prevent the speculative attack from Rubio and as not a threat to the GC he was free to make his winning effort whilst Yates and Evenepoel kept an eye on each other. The final gap to the Colombian was 14 seconds on the line.

“It’s incredible, to be honest. My first pro victory! I went through so many difficult things over the past few years that hurt me so much. Now I’m back on the right path. The team brought me here so calmly and well protected into the climb. I got myself to the foot of the climb and I wanted to go already, I was feeling so strong. Winning here is a special feeling. The tactics were to wait for a big longer before going, but I was feeling with such great legs, I had my team-mates by my side, I had to try it, and things turned out well for us.

Over the last few kilometres I was always a bit doubtful that they could come after me, but I was keeping some energy for the end and was able to hold on and take the victory. This is something really special for my sporting career – I had so many problems over the last few years, because I had the strength, yet ended up struggling badly at races and couldn’t take advantage. This is for me, my family, Colombia – it’s incredible. Let’s try to build up on this, continue to follow the right course, and work hard to keep improving. It’s also my birthday! No better gift that this, I must say.”

Einer Augusto Rubio

2023 UAE Tour Stage 3 result

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