A hard-fought and narrow win on the first summit finish of Jefel Hafeet saw Tadej Pogacar further extend his overall lead in the UAE Tour, the Slovenian rider just getting the better of Britain's Adam Yates on stage 3.
Like they did a year ago, the two riders escaped from the rest of the peloton and Pogacar, of local team UAE Team Emirates, held on against a series of attacks from Yates, the Ineos Grenadiers rider still moving into second overall as a result, 43 seconds behind the 2020 Tour de France winner.
They finished 48 seconds ahead of the next group that included Joao Almeida of Sam Bennett's Deceuninck-QuickStep team, who drops to third at 1:03.
Bennett finished back in another group and will now have another shot to make the bunch sprint assuming it stays that way for Wednesday’s flat stage 4 into Al Marjan Island. There is another summit finish on Thursday to Jebel Jais, with flat stages again Friday and Saturday presenting Bennett with the chance to contest what would be a 50th win on the UCI Tour.
A year on from being cut short by an outbreak of Covid-19, the UAE Tour lost its first race leader Mathieu van der Poel and his Alpecin-Fenix team ahead of Monday’s second stage after a team staff member returned a positive test for the virus.