stage 3

Time trial day

Before heading to some summit finishes in the next few days, the UAE Tour’s riders were to tackle a short, nine-kilometre time trial in Ajman on Tuesday. Stefan Bissegger beat the reigning world champion Filippo Ganna for the win, while Arnaud Démare put on a good effort to take sixteenth place on the stage. Tomorrow, the bunch will head to Jebel Jais’ mountain-top finish after nineteen kilometres of climbing.

After two bunch sprints, stage 3 of the UAE Tour was clearly a time trial made for pure specialists on Tuesday. The straightforward course in Ajman was then not supposed to bring any surprises. “It was a nine-kilometre time trial with just a roundabout to turn around,” said Sébastien Joly, a sports director of the Groupama-FDJ cycling team. “There was rather a tailwind on the outward journey and quite logically a headwind on the return trip, which resulted in a small speed differential between the two parts”. Jacopo Guarnieri, Ignatas Konovalovas and Ramon Sinkeldam were the first team members to complete the race. Clément Davy later came on the starting pad, and the young Frenchman established a decent mark in 10’29”. Miles Scotson did better in 10’22” twenty minutes later but it was eventually Arnaud Démare who set the best time for Groupama-FDJ in 10’16”. This allowed him to take sixteenth place on the stage, thirty-three seconds behind winner Stefan Bissegger.

“An unusual time trial”, Sébastien Joly

Arnaud is very happy with his time trial”, said Sébastien. “It also enabled him to make a good ten-minute effort. In terms of his preparation, it is very good for his future goals. Miles might be a little disappointed, but when you look at the standings, there are actually very good time trial riders here. Therefore, it is not so bad. This time trial was not properly a goal, but we are now used, whatever the races, to being very concentrated on these events. That’s what we did today. Everyone was entirely committed. It was still an unusual time trial because we don’t have all the infrastructure that we normally have in Europe, but all the staff supported the riders in the best possible way, and it was a good organization”. After this race against time, Arnaud Démare sits in fourteenth place overall, but the former French champion will not be on his terrain on Wednesday. “Tomorrow, it’s a mountaintop finish so we’ll go with Matteo”, added Sébastien. “We will place him as good as possible at the bottom so that he can do his own thing on this climb”.

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