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by Shane Stokes
February 24, 2018
Bauhaus wins stage 3 of the Abu Dhabi Tour; Bastinelli wins stage 2 of the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana; Kittel: ‘I was just one 1000th of a second too late’; Report: Astana in danger of folding due to financial issues; Viviani believes defence of race lead is unlikely; Brailsford takes up permanent role at Team Sky; Lobato signs for Nippo-Vini Fantini; New 100 mile closed-road event confirmed for UK; Video: Flanders Classics’ theme; Video: 360 degree cameras in the peloton
Team Sunweb rider Phil Bauhaus took the closest of victories on Friday’s third stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour, pipping Marcel Kittel in a photo finish at Big Flag. Kittel appeared to be moving quicker, but just ran out of road and had to be content with second. Another German, Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe) was third.
“I wasn’t sure that I’d won when I crossed the line,” Bauhaus admitted. “It was really close, especially with Marcel Kittel coming very fast from behind. I was super happy when I was told I won. I came in good position behind Elia Viviani in the last corner and I could start my sprint from his back wheel. I’m very proud to take the win against those big names. Every win is important. This one is different from last year’s at the Dauphiné. It’s early in the season. It’s also the first win for our team. We’ll build our confidence up on the win I got today.”
The 133 kilometres stage began at Nation Towers and, as expected, saw a long-range break go clear from the start. After two days of Charles Planet animating things for his Novo Nordisk team, it was the turn of his teammate Sam Brand to go up the road. He combined with French climber Pierre Rolland (EF Education First-Drapac), Marco Maronese (Bardiani CSF) and Sergey Firsanov (Gazprom-Rusvelo) to build a buffer, but the chase behind saw the gap drop below 20 seconds. Rolland then jumped clear but everything was back together with just over 50 kilometres remaining.
Sidewinds saw a repeat of Thursday’s echelons, although that proved less decisive and there were no lasting gaps. In the final sprint Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) made an early move but he was overhauled by others, with Bauhaus prevailing by a tiny margin.