Dubai Tour 2014: stage three - five observations

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Dubai Tour 2014: stage three – five observations

Marcel Kittel answers his critics as Britain's Steve Cummings proves his form

Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida), clad in the stripes of world champion, was never likely simply to take it easy in Dubai. Hot weather training ahead of a programme which will ultimately lead to the Tour de France was his chief priority, but Costa appears determined to give the rainbow jersey a good showing on the Emirate. He had already come to the front of the race long before the attacks and counter-attacks started and it was unsurprising to find him in the thick of the action.

Rui Costa shows off his rainbow stripes during the opening ceremony, and he ensured they were given a good airing again during stage three (pic: Ansa)

His acceleration in the last three kilometres showed he had more in mind than just a training ride, even if it did prove to be short-lived. Nevertheless, as he returned to the bunch, a statement had clearly been made – Costa will be a man on a mission in 2014. His predecessor in the rainbow stripes, Philippe Gilbert, endured a frustrating year as world champion, but Costa is already showing there will be no let-up in the aggressive riding style which earned him Tour de Suisse success, two Tour de France stages and the most prestigious of all one-day race victories next season.

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