Italian Giacomo Nizzolo took control of the Dubai Tour standings on Friday after a second place finish in the penultimate stage three.
Spaniard Juan Jose Lobato claimed the victory on the day following a stinging attack to the line in Hatta Dam.
The day’s ride took the bunch over 172 kilometres.
Mark Cavendish’s bad luck continued – after suffering a crash near the end of the previous days stage – the manxman lost a shed load of minutes when he sustained a late puncture and then had to wait for a lagging team car for a replacement.
Despite a handful of attacks throughout the day most of the peloton were together inside the final kilometre.
The climb to the line appeared to take its toll on most, but not on Lobato who powered out in front for a fine victory.
Nizzolo is now two seconds clear of Lobato with one stage remaining.
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