For the third day in succession, a sprint finish decided the victor at the Abu Dhabi Tour. Phil Bauhaus (Team Sunweb) was the fastest today, taking the stage win ahead of Marcel Kittel (Katusha) and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe).
Stage 3 of the Abu Dhabi Tour was contested over a short and flat 133km. The early break of the day consisted of 4 riders but due to the shorter stage, the peloton did not let them get too far up the road, eventually reeling the break in with still over 50km remaining.
The final 40km of the stage was run out toward Al Marina and the coastal winds made the peloton somewhat nervous. On a few occasions some teams tried to split the race in the crosswinds, as was the case yesterday, but it all came to nothing today. A bunch sprint was once again the order of the day and our African Team gave the final a crack with Mark Renshaw as our protected rider.
Lachlan Morton, Jaco Venter and Mekseb Debesay were all part of positioning our Australian in the final 10km of the stage. The big wide roads leading into the finale allowed a number of teams to remain in contention, but as the final kilometer approached and the road narrowed, the sprint got a little messy. Mitchelton-Scott and Quickstep seemed to have the upper hand in the leadout but it was Bauhaus who took a deserved victory.
Renshaw, who has become our protected sprinter this week after Mark Cavendish crashed out on stage 1, had to follow the wheels of the front runners today. In the end, he crossed the line 14th on the stage. Tomorrow will be the 12.6km individual time trial and our African Team will be hoping Steve Cummings can put in a strong performance in the race against the clock.