German Marcel Kittel produced a stunning late burst to sprint to victory to win Stage Three of the Dubai Tour on Friday.
With a few short climbs to negotiate towards the end of the 162km 'Nature' stage to Hatta, Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) appeared to step up the tempo.
Slovakian Peter Sagan (Cannondale) appeared to be favourite for the medium mountain stage but Kittel surged ahead to grab his second consecutive stage victory in a thrilling finale.
"I'm very happy for this win. The team worked very well today. They gave me a big hand to get me to the finish, and I repaid them with a good win. Today was hard because we had to chase down the attackers on the climbs," said Kittel of Team Giant-Shimano after his spectacular triumph.
Kittel had been hidden in the bunch in the final kilometres before emerging in the final kilometre and timed his sprint to perfection, pipping Movistar’s Juan Jose Lobato for a hard-fought victory.
Taylor Phinney of BMC Racing meanwhile stayed in the overall lead after finishing safely in the leading group.
"It was a beautiful stage today, the hardest of the race. Hatta is beautiful, the roads were very good, and the climbs were pretty steep and hard," said the American.
"I'm looking forward to tomorrow. It is pretty straightforward, a town circuit around downtown Dubai. A shorter stage, we'll try to take control. I know the sprinters teams will want to sprint, so I'll just try to stay safe," added Phinney.
Dubai Tour 2014 – stage three results
1) Marcel Kittel (GER) – Giant-Shimano – 3:47.52
2) Juan Jose Lobato (ESP) – Movistar – ST
3) Peter Sagan (SVK) – Cannondale
4) Dylan van Baarle (NED) – Garmin-Sharp
5) Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (SAF) – Giant-Shimano
6) Wouter Poels (NED) – Omega Pharma-Quickstep
7) Alejandro Valverde (ESP) – Movistar
8) Ramunas Navardauskas (LTU) – Garmin-Sharp
9) Nikolay Trusov (SVN) – Tinkoff-Saxo
10) Jesus Herrada Lopez (ESP) – Movistar
1) Taylor Phinney (USA) – BMC Racing – 6:50.24
2) Steve Cummings (GBR) – BMC Racing +15”
3) Lasse Norman Hansen (DEN) – Garmin-Sharp +17”
4) Tony Martin (GER) – Omega Pharma-Quickstep +23”
5) Fabian Cancellara (SUI) – Trek Factory Racing +26”
6) Peter Sagan (SVK) – Cannondale +29”
7) Marcel Kittel (GER) – Giant-Shimano +33”
8) Adriano Malori (ITA) – Movistar – ST
9) Maciej Bodnar (POL) – Cannondale +36”
10) Peter Velits (SVK) – BMC Racing +38”
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