Alejandro Valverde takes first victory as World Champion in UAE Tour
Feb 26 2019 09:08 pm CET

Alejandro Valverde takes first victory as World Champion in UAE Tour
Alejandro Valverde takes first victory as World Champion in UAE Tour
Photo of Alejandro Valverde (c)Innsbruck-Tirol 2018 / BettiniPhoto

Movistar's Alejandro Valverde has taken the victory of the third stage at the UAE Tour. The Spaniard took his first win in the rainbow jersey at Jebel Hafeet.

The third stage of the Emirati race was 179 kilometres long between Al Ain and Jebel Hafeet and featured a climbing finish with an average inclination of 8% and a maximum of 11% at three kilometres from the line.

The peloton rode together through most of the stage as a preparation for the last climb. Teams like Jumbo-Visma, Sunweb, Bahrain-Merida and Movistar did everything well to protect their climbers and putting them in a good position ahead of Jebel Hafeet.

CCC Team's Patrick Bevin and UAE Team Emirates Diego Ulissi were the first riders to make a move with eight kilometres to go while behind Jumbo-Visma were at the front of the peloton to protect Primoz Roglic GC lead, a kilometre later Sunweb's Robert Powell joined the front men. The pace of the pack left behind riders like Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick-Step).

With six kilometres to go, the pace set by Jumbo-Visma's Laurens De Plus managed to catch the escapees. Two kilometres later, De Plus finished his work and right away Roglic accelerated and took Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) and David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), with him, Bora-hansgrohe's Emanuel Buchmann joined them a few metres later.

Behind them, a chase group formed by riders like Tom Dumoulin, Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Davide Formolo (Bora-hansgrohe) tried to make contact with the front. With two kilometres to go, Valverde attacked from the chasers and he joined the front group in the last kilometre.

Valverde was the fastest in the group and crossed the finish line in the first position and took his first victory in the rainbow jersey. Roglic and Gaudu were in the second and third positions of the day.

Roglic kept the GC lead and stands at 14 seconds from Valverde.