DUBAI (AFP) — Movistar’s Juan Jose Lobato clinched a summit finish victory in the crucial third stage of the Dubai Tour Friday as Giacomo Nizzolo of Trek – Segafredo seized the overall leader’s blue jersey.
Finishing the race at the steep Hatta Dam way after a 172-kilometer ride through the city and the desert, Lobato also took second place in the overall standings from Marcel Kittel of Etixx – Quick-Step. Kittel is now third at 6 seconds.
“I knew this finale from last year and it’s exactly the kind of finish that I like,” Lobato said. “It was all about being well positioned before the last climb and I was indeed. I’m very happy to get my first win of the year here.”
Nizzolo, who was in third place after the first two stages, steadily made his way to the overall lead on Friday.
“After two podiums on the flat stages, it’s satisfying to finish second uphill here,” Nizzolo said. “It’s a good sign… The last climb was just a strong and brutal effort.”
Friday’s third stage embarked from the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort to the Hatta Dam near the border with Oman, where racers were challenged with two climbs and descents.
“I hope that I can keep the jersey tomorrow,” Nizzolo said.
Silvan Dillier of BMC Racing, Trek’s Fabian Cancellara, and Dillier’s teammate Philippe Gilbert arrived four seconds after Lobato and rounded out the top 5.
The first kilometer of the race featured a breakaway led by Skydive Dubai’s Francisco Mancebo. Later as the road began to climb toward the Hatta Dam, Astana’s Dimitry Gruzdev led another escape.
Saturday’s fourth and final stage will run 132km within the city of Dubai before ending at the iconic Burj Khalifa — the world’s tallest building.