Adam Yates out of UAE Tour with concussion after horror crash

Pre-race favourite unable to continue following accident while fellow UAE Team Emirates rider Jay Vine takes overall lead

UAE Team Emirates rider Adam Yates, left, was favourite to win this year's UAE Tour. Credit: @TeamEmiratesUAE
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Pre-race favourite Adam Yates is out of the UAE Tour after being involved in a horror crash on Stage 3 as fellow UAE Team Emirates rider Jay Vine took over as the new overall leader.

Team leader Yates hit the ground hard with around 46 kilometres left and, after attempting to continue, the British rider pulled out of the race before the stage's uphill phase.

“Unfortunately, Adam Yates has been diagnosed with a concussion after his crash today at the UAE Tour. He is stable with other superficial injuries,” said UAE Team Emirates medical director Dr Adrian Rotunno.

“For the sake of Adam’s health, and as per concussion protocols, he was withdrawn from racing. He will need recovery, and the medical team will continue with neurological monitoring and rehab going forward.”

It was a bitter blow for the home team who had started Wednesday's racing with Brandon McNulty ahead in the general classification and ended it with his Australian teammate Jay Vine on top.

Vine finished second on Stage 3, five seconds behind countryman Ben O'Connor, with Belgian rider Lennert Van Eetvelt in third. He now leads O'Connor in the overall standings by 11 seconds with American McNulty third, two seconds behind.

“In the last kilometre it was just giving everything till the finish,” said Vine. “Adam Yates’ crash was a bit of a weird one, not on a pretty stressful part. I didn’t see it happen. But unfortunately he can’t remember hitting the ground.

“The plan now is to retain the red jersey till the end with a rider from UAE Team Emirates, it doesn’t matter who, but I’m sure there are a hundred guys out there who have a different idea. It’s incredible that at my first race of the year I’m wearing a WorldTour leader jersey.”

The new GC leader said his sights were always on winning. “A surge came, I looked for Brandon, he started turning back and I heard on the radio, 'Jay you’ve got to pull' - I carried to the front and I kept going flat out,” added Viner.

“The plan was for the team to take the red jersey home at the end of the week. We did pretty well to come away with me in the red jersey at the end of the day.”

Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team rider O'Connor pulled away from the pack with just over a kilometre left for his first WorldTour win of the season.

Vine tried in vain to close in on him but had to settle for second ahead of Van Eetvelt of Lotto Dstny in the 176-kilometre Ras Al Khaimah stage from Al Marjan Island to Jebel Jais.

“It's been a while since I last won a mountain top. It was amazing. The boys were super good today. Second win of the year, it's pretty cool,” said O’Connor after the finish.

“I was not confident in my sprint at the end so we decided to go full before the one kilometre to go mark. Valentin Paret-Peintre almost dropped me off but we managed to get a gap and I kept going till the end.

“I just thought why not because in a sprint at the end I’m not always super confident so I just told him, ‘let’s go full’, and he was kind of dropping me off the wheel but it was sweet to get the gap.

“There’s no better motivation than to see everyone behind you and try to get to the finish line first.”

Stage 3 results:

1. Ben O'Connor (AUS) Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team, 4 hrs 16 min 21 sec.

2. Jay Vine (AUS) UAE Team Emirates, at 5 sec

3. Lennert Van Eetvelt (BEL) Lotto Dstny, st

General Classification:

1. Jay Vine (AUS) UAE Team Emirates

2. Ben O'Connor (AUS) Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team, at 11 sec

3. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates, at 13 sec

Updated: February 21, 2024, 5:02 PM