Britain’s Adam Yates was second to Tadej Pogacar in the third stage of the UAE Tour following an intense battle up the final mountain.
Red jersey wearer Pogacar took victory after he launched himself past Yates about 300 metres before the line.
Yates, 28, in his debut race for Ineos Grenadiers, had powerfully led Pogacar up to Jebel Hafeet, leaving the remaining field behind.
Yates is now second overall, 43 seconds behind Pogacar, with four stages to go.
Last year’s Tour de France winner Pogacar, who rides for UAE-Team Emirates, has begun this season in sparkling form.
He took the lead of the race after Tuesday’s time trial when winner of stage 1 Mathieu van der Poel left the race after a staff member of his Alpecin-Fenix team tested positive for coronavirus.
“It was kind of stressful because there was a small chance of echelons, but all I had to do is respond to attacks,” said Pogacar.
“I’m super happy.”
Ineos signed Yates from Mitchelton-Scott last year following the departure of Chris Froome to Israel Start Up Nation.
Four-time Tour de France winner Froome was five minutes behind the leaders on the 166km stage from Al Ain up to the uncategorised climb to Jebel Hafeet – he now sits 44th, 14 minutes 53 seconds down.
Froome has said he is still recovering his form since suffering multiple fractures in a crash during the 2019 Criterium du Dauphine, his return then delayed further by the coronavirus pandemic.
Wednesday’s 204km stage to Al Marjan Island will be a chance for the sprinters to battle for a stage win.
UAE Tour stage 3 result:
1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE-Team Emirates) 3hrs 58mins 35secs
2. Adam Yates (GB/Ineos Grenadiers) “
3. Sergio Higuita (Col/EF Education-Nippo) +48secs
4. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger/Bora-Hansgrohe) “
5. Harm Vanhouke (Bel/Lotto-Soudal) “
6. Joao Almeida (Por/Decueninck-Quick Step) “
7. Florian Stork (Ger/DSM) +54secs
8. Neilson Powless (USA/EF Education-Nippo) “
9. Chris Harper (Aus/Jumbo-Visma) +1min
10. Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra/AG2R-Citroen) +1min 9secs
1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE-Team Emirates) 7hrs 58mins 30secs
2. Adam Yates (GB/Ineos Grenadiers) +43secs
3. Joao Almeida (Por/Deceuninck-Quick Step) +1min 3secs
4. Chris Harper (Aus/Jumbo-Visma) +1min 43secs
5. Neilson Powless (USA/EF Education-Nippo) +1min 45secs
6. Mattias Jenson Skjelmose (Den/TRek-Segafredo) +2min 36secs
7. Damiano Caruso (Ita/Bahrain-Victorious) +2min 38secs
8. Mattia Catteno (Ita/Deceuninck – Quick Step) +2min 39secs
9. Ruben Fernandez (Spa/Cofidis) +3min 32secs
10. Fausto Masnada (Ita/Deceuninck-Quick Step) +4min 47secs
44. Chris Froome (GB/Israel Start-Up Nation) +14mins 53secs
47. Mark Donovan (GB/Team DSM) +15mins 23secs
125. Harry Tanfield (GB/Team Qhubeka ASSOS) +29mins 27secs