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UAE Tour (3) - Meintjes, 16th: "Nice to start the season in this way"

UAE Tour (3) - Meintjes, 16th: "Nice to start the season in this way"

After the first stage with crosswinds and the individual time trial, the third day of the UAE Tour (2.WT, 21-27/2) promised again to be important for the general classification. The 166 kilometer stage between Al Ain and the top of the Jebel Hafeet flirted with the borders of Oman. A flat approach through the desert took the riders to the foot of the 10.6 kilometer climb towards the finish, however, not without the risk of crosswinds. But the peloton has chosen for a calm race start by letting two riders, Tony Gallopin and Thomas De Gendt, gaining a large advantage.

With backwind, the pace was immediately high on the first slopes of the Jebel Hafeet, with its 1240 meters of altitude the second highest mountain top in the United Arabic Emirates. The favorites gradually skimmed the peloton, until only Tadej Pogacar and Adam Yates were left. The Solvenian race leader was faster than the Briton in the sprint. A little later, a group with Louis Meintjes sprinted for 12th place. The South-African crossed the line in 16th place and is now 23rd in the provisional general classification. The fourth and longest stage around Al Marjan Island this Wednesday offers new opportunities for sprinters.

Louis Meintjes:
« My feeling on the climb was good, which is a satisfying confirmation of my preparation to the season. It's nice to start the season like this. Moreover, I'm also very happy about how we work together with the team. This first test was good for my confidence, so I'm ready to build on that. Hopefully my legs will feel the same on the second mountain top finish! »

Valerio Piva:
« Until a couple of hours ago, we didn't exactly know in which form our climbers were. We're very happy with today's result. Louis followed the better riders and the others did a good job. I've seen them racing together as a team and they managed to position our climbers in the front at the foot of the climb. After this first test, we know where we are now. I'm convinced that if we keep working in this way, results will follow. Of course, we were a little disappointed after the first stage. But this doesn't mean we lost our motivation, in contrary. We can't play a role in the general classification anymore, but we want to achieve the best possible results in the flat stages with Riccardo and on the second mountain top finish with our climbers. »

Stage 3:
1.Tadej Pogacar
2.Adam Yates
3.Sergio Higuita +0:48
16.Louis Meintjes +1:26
25.Jan Hirt +2:11
31.Rein Taaramäe +2:44
43.Simone Petilli +5:00
65.Wesley Kreder +11:06
77.Kévin Van Melsen +14:04
90.Riccardo Minali +16:05

Provisional general classification:
1.Tadej Pogacar
2.Adam Yates +0:43
3.Joao Almeida +1:03
23.Louis Meintjes +11:17
31.Rein Taaramäe
33.Jan Hirt +12:37
48.Simone Petilli +15:33
79.Wesley Kreder +21:10
84.Kévin Van Melsen +24:09
118.Riccardo Minali +26:40