Adam Yates won the 184km third stage of the UAE Tour atop Jebel Hafeet.
The Englishman completed the race in 4:42:33, beating UAE Team Emirates’ Tadej Pogacar and Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko to the line.
The 27-year-old leads the General Classification ahead of Wednesday’s fourth stage from Zabeel Park to Dubai City Walk.
Here are three takeaways and observations from day three.
YATES REIGNS SUPREME
An incredible stage.
The Bury man demolished the field up Jebel Hafeet to clinch his first win of the season, continuing his sizzling form after netting five victories last campaign.
With 5.2 kilometers to go, the Mitchelton-Scott rider launched a quality attack and, although Pogacar attempted to reel him in, he was never caught.
While other riders wilted the further they navigated up Jebel Hafeet, the commanding Yates put out an average of 400 power watts over those final gruelling kilometres.
Eighth on stage two to Hatta Dam, Yates has placed himself in a strong position now for GC honours and will surely be targeting another victory when the fifth stage returns to the same finish line on Thursday. His confidence will be sky high after winning so comfortably.
UAE Tour 2020 - Stage 3 Last kilometer pic.twitter.com/M9DO3MWQOo— UAE Tour Official (@uae_tour) February 25, 2020
For a man who dominated this stage for the past two seasons, Alejandro Valverde struggled and looked a tired figure when the cameras panned towards him with 5.7 kilometres remaining.
The 39-year-old, who went on to finish 18th, was not in the form he would have liked and perhaps that is down to him being in the early stages of his training programme.
Maybe the Spaniard has his eyes on other goals and wants to build up to full fitness gradually, especially in a long year where he has made the Olympics and World Road Race Championships his key priorities.
Valverde is not getting any younger – he turns 40 in April – and a podium at either event would cap off a fine professional career.
🇦🇪 #UAETour: Adam Yates (MTS) se impone con 1' de ventaja sobre Tadej Pogacar (UAD) en Jebel Hafeet (3ª etapa), situándose como nuevo líder.— Movistar Team (@Movistar_Team) February 25, 2020
Jornada exigente para @alejanvalverde, que concluye 18º prov. a unos 2'30" del británico. A recuperar y pensar en las próximas ✊ pic.twitter.com/zhWsBc1Xvo
A difficult day for Chris Froome who continues to step up his recovery after sustaining career-threatening injuries during a Criterium du Dauphine practice ride last June.
The Briton finished 111th on stage two to Hatta Dam, unable to keep the pace with seven kilometres to go.
On stage three, he was dropped after 300 metres of climbing and stuck to his own speed in an attempt to ascend the brutal 10.6 kilometre climb to Jebel Hafeet.
When he crossed the finish line, the 34-year-old notched 67th place, nearly 11 minutes behind stage winner Yates.
Still, whether he finishes first or last at every stage this week, it’s amazing to see the four-time Tour de France champion back in action after fracturing his right femur, elbow and ribs only eight months ago.
He must be patient in his recovery as he builds his body back up again.