The third edition of the Abu Dhabi Tour and the first since the event was awarded WorldTour status proved worthy of the sensational field of top riders who assembled at Yas Marina Circuit last week.
As expected, the 2017 Abu Dhabi Tour was the biggest and best since the race’s inception – and one whose scale and impact is demonstrated by the facts and figures below.
The 22-year-old Orica-Scott rider clenched his fists and let out an audible roar as he crossed the finish line under the lights of Yas Marina Circuit safely in first place.
It was a nice way to end the Tour for the young Aussie after he raised his arms in premature celebration on Friday’s Stage 2 thinking he had won the stage, only to admit a rookie error that saw him pipped by half a bike wheel on the line at Al Marina which engulfed him in embarrassment.
Ewan admitted the error had been playing on his mind and he joked with reporters after his victory that he kept cycling well beyond the line just to make sure he had been successful.
“I think I sprinted past the line just to make sure,” he added, after claiming the final stage win of the Tour ahead of Team Dimension Data rider Mark Cavendish and Lotto Soudal’s Andre Greipel.
“It did go through my mind the whole race (not to raise my arms at the line), to make sure I sprint the whole way past the line just to make sure there was no repeat of Stage 2. “
The win was a watershed moment for his team, UAE Team Emirates, who claimed a home triumph barely two months after being unveiled as the 18th and last team to enter the UCI WorldTour.
The 30-year-old broke with 6km to go, halfway up the grueling climb that signals the end of Stage 3.
Russian rider Zakarin challenged him but it was the failure of a bunch of high-profile stars that failed to catch the leaders that caught the attention, with Nairo Quintana, Fabio Aru and Vincenzo Nibali all trailing a minute or so behind.
Costa held off the challenge of Zakarin, finishing in a time of 4:34:08, seconds ahead of the Russian, while Team Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin gave chase but was 10 seconds back in third.