Rui Costa wins queen stage at Abu Dhabi Tour
Feb 25 2017 09:19 pm CET

Rui Costa wins queen stage at Abu Dhabi Tour

Rui Costa of UAE Team Emirates has won the queen stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour. The Portuguese rider beat Ilnur Zakarin of Katusha-Alpecin in a sprint of two.

The third of four stages in the Middle Eastern race was also the most influential in the battle for the general classification. The 186km course was mostly flat but included a tough climb up the Jebel Hafeet mountain in its finale.

Simone Andreetta (Bardiani CSF), Pavel Brutt (Gazprom-Rusvelo), Stephen Clancy (Team Novo Nordisk) and Alan Marangoni (Nippo-Vini Fantini) formed an escape group early on and created a gap of about five minutes with the peloton.

The chase was momentarily slowed down as the wind pushed the desert sand onto the course and forced the peloton to take things easy for a short while. The four leaders were eventually reeled in at 15 kilometers from the finish, giving the peloton a few more kilometers to prepare for the final climb.

Nairo Quintana of Movistar was the first of the General Classification contenders to test the waters on the climb, but the Colombian's effort was quickly neutralized by his rivals.

Rui Costa then attacked and was later joined by Zakarin. Many movements took place behind them, most notably the attack by Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin. The Dutchman went into full time trial mode in an attempt to catch the leaders and almost did so with about one kilometer to go but failed to bridge the final gap.

In the sprint, Rui Costa had the stronger legs by far and easily beat his Russian companion to secure the victory and take the lead in the overall classification. Dumoulin finished third ahead of compatriot Bauke Mollema of Trek-Segafredo. Julian Alaphilippe of Quick-Step Floors won the sprint for fifth place.

With only a flat stage left to go on Sunday, Rui Costa will only need to stay in the peloton to secure the overall victory.
Photo of Rui Costa (cropped) from the rider's Twitter account



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