Davide Rebellin finished the “queen stage” of Abu Dhabi Tour in 16th place. Tanel Kangert (Astana) claimed the win and took over the overall lead.
Third day of racing was the decisive one in terms of general classification. The riders tackled 10-kilometer climb Jebel Hafeet, with an average gradient of 6,6%, in the end. Before that ascent the peloton rolled for 140 kilometers on the flat roads.
Soon after the start a 4-man group went clear. It included Michael O’Loughlin (Team Wiggins), Evgeny Shalunov (Gazprom-RusVelo), Marco Coledan (Trek – Segafredo) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team). They were extending their lead until it reached 5 minutes.
World Tour teams were in the control of the race, bringing the gap down systematically. With around 55km to go, when the gap was down to 3:30, the cross wind picked up. Team Sky wanted to take advantage of it and pushed the pace.
That action shattered the field into three parts and reduced the advantage of the break drastically. The escape got caught with 30km remaining. CCC Sprandi Polkowice were well represented in the main pack and on the approach to the decisive climb moved at the head of the bunch to work for its leader, Davide Rebellin.
When the road kicked up the selection was made immediately. Rebellin managed to stay with the 25 strongest riders.
There were multiple attacks on the climb. One of them was initiated by Carlos Verona (ORICA-BikeExchange), but his attempt didn’t turn out successful. Tanel Kangert (Astana) and Nicholas Roche (Team Sky) were the next riders to fire up in the climb. The duo gained 30-second lead and their rivals were unable to bring it down, despite the fact that the strong chasing group included Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida), Alberto Contador (Tinkoff), Ben Hermans (BMC Racing). There was also Tangert’s teammate, Vincenzo Nibali. Rebellin lost ground to them with around 6km to go and rode his pace until the summit.
With just 3km to go Roche got dropped and Tangert continued his powerful ride. Estonian kept his advantage and reached the top in first place. Roche finished 2nd, and Mekseb Debesay (Dimension Data), who attacked from Nibali’s and Contador’s group, was 3rd.
Rebellin climbed to 16th place (2:31 back) and sits in 14th in GC.