Aru second. Poels lies third, after crash on final corner. Chaves new race leader

Jebel Hafeet, 10 October 2015 – In the Abu Dhabi Tour (8-11 October 2015), organised by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council in partnership with RCS Sports and Events, Esteban Chaves (Orica GreenEDGE) today won Stage 3 - the Al Ain Stage - of the first Abu Dhabi Tour, Al Ain (Al Qattara Souq) - Jebel Hafeet (142km), taking the lead in the overall General Classification. 

The race unfolded as follows: a peloton of 100 riders passed km 0 at Al Ain, and Rafaa Chtioui (Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling) and Alessandro Bazzana (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling) immediately raced clear. They built a maximum lead of 2’37” at km 47.

At the first Intermediate Sprint of the day (Hamdan Bin Mohammad Stadium, km 79) Bazzana passed first, ahead of Chtioui, with Andrea Guardini (Astana Pro Team) then Elia Viviani (Team Sky) passing at the head of the bunch 2’24” later. 

At the second Intermediate Sprint (Green Mubazzarah, km 128), Chtioui beat Bazzana to the line with Viviani and Ben Swift (Team Sky) crossing third and fourth, 1’25” later, at the head of the peloton.

At the foot of the final climb up to Jabel Hafeet, Bazzana was quickly caught. Chtioui persisted, to be caught with 9km remaining.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) attacked with 7km to go, to no avail. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Cycling) attacked with 5.6 km to go, and was followed by Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx - Quick Step), and then Esteban Chaves (Orica GreenEDGE), who counter-attacked alone. 

With 3km remainig, Chaves led Wouter Poels (Team Sky) by 18” and Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Cycling) by 21”. With 700 metres remaining, Poels caught Chaves. The Dutchman launched his sprint, only to slip over on the last bend.

Chaves took the stage win, with Aru 12” behind and Poels at 21”. Victory brought him the race lead overall, denoted by the Red Jersey, sponsored by ADNOC, and the lead in the Best Young Rider competition, denoted by the White Jersey, sponsored by The National.
1 - Esteban Chaves (Orica GreenEDGE) 142 km in 3h28’04”, average speed 40.948 km/h
2 - Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team) at 12"
3 - Wouter Poels (Team Sky) at 21"

  • RED JERSEY, sponsored by ADNOC (General Classification by time) – Esteban Chaves (Orica GreenEDGE)
  • GREEN JERSEY, sponsored by ABU DHABI SPORTS COUNCIL (General Classification by points) – Alessandro Bazzana (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)
  • WHITE JERSEY, sponsored by THE NATIONAL (Best Young Rider, born after 1 January 1990) – Esteban Chaves (Orica GreenEDGE)
  • BLACK JERSEY, sponsored by ETIHAD AIRWAYS (Intermediate Sprint Jersey Classification) – Alessandro Bazzana (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)
1 - Esteban Chaves (Orica GreenEDGE)
2 - Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team) at 16"
3 - Wouter Poels (Team Sky) at 27"

Stage 4 – The Yas Stage - Yas Marina Circuit - Yas Marina Circuit, 110km
Start Meeting Point: Yas Marina Circuit 
Signing-On: 3.00pm-4.30pm
Roll out: 4.35pm
km 0: Approx. 4.40pm
Intermediate Sprints: km 27.5 (start of lap 6), km 55 (start of lap 11) and km 82.5 (start of lap 16)
Finish: Yas Marina Circuit - approx. 7.00pm
Race Headquarters: Yas Events Centre, Gate 20, Yas West Entrance

The rider is fine. He has been able to sleep. He has a mild headache due to the head trauma and fracture of the temporal bone. His condition is stable (as confirmed by the CT scan performed today). Due to the kind of fracture he sustained, he will stay under observation until Thursday, when all the relevant medical examinations have been carried out.

For the final stage on 11 October, entry to the Yas Marina Circuit is free. The Circuit will open at 3.30pm local time, in time for the race start at 4.40pm. After the race, there will be a spectacular show and concert with magicians, light shows and music for fans inside the circuit, which fans can enjoy while they ride their bikes around the track. A unique atmosphere is guaranteed.

The entire stage takes place at night on the Yas Marina Circuit. 110km at night under the floodlights of the F1 Circuit. The peloton will complete 20 laps (5.5km each) culminating in the last Abu Dhabi Tour sprint. The circuit is wide and the road surface in impeccable condition.

Stage winner - Esteban Chaves (Orica GreenEDGE): 
Q: What does it mean to be so close to winning the first Abu Dhabi Tour?
A: It is important for me. Cycling is more global now. The big races are not all on one continent, There are important races in America, Asia, and now the UAE. It is important for cycling, and for us too. 

Q: Did you ever have any doubts about coming to the Abu Dhabi Tour?
A: No. In January, Matthew White asked me if I wanted to come, and I said, "Of course! I don't know Abu Dhabi." 

Q: Will you come again? 
A: For sure!

Q: You had a front row seat for Wout Poels' crash.
A: I attacked really early, because the final part of the climb was less steep, and therefore it was easier for a rider like Poels. He caught me in the final kilometre, and started his sprint, but on the final corner, 50m from the finish, his wheel slipped and he went down. I came passed him and won the stage. I want to say that I am sorry for Poels. I won the stage, but it would not have been correct to celebrate and raise my arms. I passed the finish line, and I took the win, but cycling is like that.

Q: Did Poels take too much of a risk?
A: It was a 180-degree bend, 50m from the finish line: you have to take risks in that situation. Sprinting is like that. I think he fell because of sand on the road. I say again, that is sport. 

Q: If he had not fallen, could you still have won? 
A: I don't know. I would have tried, but you can never know.

Q: How do you see your future after what happened this year?
A: I have one dream in my life. I started it when I was 12. I want to win the the Tour de France one day. It is a long away away, and I have never even ridden the Tour. I have only ridden one Giro d'Italia and two Vueltas. This year has been really important for my career. I can now say that I can do it: ride competitively for 3 weeks. Maybe next year I will ride one more big Tour, really focused on the GC, and we will see how I do. 

Q: What does it mean to take this jersey with one stage remaining?
A: A short, flat stage, at that, and, I hope, less warm. We race at night tomorrow, and normally in Abu Dhabi it is 5-7 degrees less at night, which is perfect. We'll certainly try to keep the jersey

Q: It is your first GC win as a pro rider?
A: It is true. I hadn't thought of that! I have won the Tour de l'Avenir, but as a pro, when I pass the finish line tomorrow, if I win, it will be my first GC win. Every win is big.

Q: On the Abetone stage of the Giro d'Italia, you tried to ride follow Contador when he attacked. Was that a turning point for you?
A: Yes. I wasn't just trying to follow them: I had the chance of wearing the Maglia Rosa. My first Giro d'Italia was very important for me, My body matured incredibly, and so did my mind. It makes you stronger. Your body is stronger, you can train harder, for longer, with more intensity, and that helped me for the Vuelta, where I won two stages, the leader's jersey, and things changed for me in the sense that now, when I start a race, I  know that maybe I can win. 

2nd in the stage - Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Cycling): "We had two contenders, Vincenzo and myself, so we tried everything, but Chaves showed that he was the strongest today. I didn't see what happened to Poels because I was just bit further back, but I am sorry for him. The season has finished well for us. I have have tried to honour every race that I have started, even when I have not been at my very best. I had a lot of commitments in September, and I was not in a position to train in the best way, but I have tried to do my job and give everything I had."

3rd in the stage - Wouter Poels (Team Sky): "I caught him on the last part of the climb, just before the downhill section. I knew he was very tired, so I sprinted on the final rise, but on the final bend I fell. I don't win a lot of race, and when you come so close... What can I say? That's cycling."

The Abu Dhabi Tour, organised by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council in collaboration with RCS Sport (8-11 October) consists of four stages covering a total of 555km; three stages suit the sprinters, while the remaining stage finishes uphill after a 10.8km climb with gradients touching 12%. The General Classification is expected to be decided on the climb.
On the evening of the last stage, the Tour will have the honour of hosting the very first UCI Cycling Gala awards ceremony. This unique event will celebrate the end of the UCI professional road cycling season with its stakeholders in Abu Dhabi.


Links: Abu Dhabi Tour downloads site for all content

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