Grande premiere for Buitrago
February 2 nd 2022 - 17:19 [GMT + 3]
Stage 2 of the 2022 Saudi Tour will be a day that Santiago Buitrago will remember for a very long time. The 22-year-old Colombian captured his very first professional victory in Abu Rakha. Making the best of the final decisive climb, the Bahrain Victorious rider powered away from the pack and eventually beat to the line Andrea Bagioli (QST) and Charmig (UXT). A fine day for Buitrago who also takes the overall leader’s Green Jersey.
After yesterday’s breathtaking stage that included a passage through the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hegra, the 96 riders of the 2022 Saudi Tour gathered together in front of the Taibah University for the start of stage 3. And a fast start it would be as the peloton headed towards the north west of the Al Ula region.
URIANSTAD AND TZORTZAKIS AGAIN IN THE BREAK
Things settled down when Jeroen Meijers (TSG) broke away at km2. He was rapidly caught by two other brave escapees: Best young rider of the Tour, Martin Urianstad (UXT) and Polychronis Tzortzakis (KUW), both already present in yesterday’s two breakaways. In their quest for the Most Active rider’s jersey there would be quite a battle for points between these two men. Round 1 would go Urianstad’s way when he claimed the first Intermediate Active sprint (km16) ahead of rival Tzortzakis while the peloton, not too concerned, remained 3’15’’ adrift.
MEIJERS LAST MAN STANDING
The gap grew to 4’10’’ at km 30 before gradually dropping down as Thomas De Gendt took control of the peloton’s stage. With the leading trio under control, the race could go on quietly as the riders enjoyed a pleasant tailwind. At the second Intermediate Active sprint (km94), Urianstad again captured the most points comforting his lead in the blue jersey classification. Meanwhile the chasing pack led by UAE Team Emirates and Lotto-Soudal moved closer: 2’10’’. The gap dropped down to 30’’ with 25kms to go. The front men still managed to make it clear to the bonus sprint (km 142) with Urianstad beating Meijers while Tzortzakis was dropped and caught by the pack.
The last rider to survive would be Meijers but he too was gobbled up by the pack at km 150.
BUITRAGO’S DECISIVE MOVE
With just over 6 kilometres to go Julius Jayde (KUW) gave it a go on his own but the South African’s solo effort only lasted two kilometres. Eventually on the final climb of the day to reach Abu Rakha at 1273m in altitude, Santiago Buitrago (TBV) and Daniel Oss (TEN) pulled away. They were soon caught by Andrea Bagioli who had clearly recovered from his crash yesterday. While Oss failed to follow, Buitrago remained smatrly in the wheel of his Italian companion. The Colombian made his decisive move in the final 100m, beating Bagioli by just a second while Anthon Charmig (UXT) finished third at 7”. Buitrago claims his first ever pro success in his second year under the Bahrain Victorious colours. He also captures the overall leader’s Green Jersey but only has a slim 7” advantage over Caleb Ewan (LTS), sixth today and still in the lead of the point’s classification. Alongside the overall lead, Buitrago also becomes the best young rider of the event while Urianstad keeps the Blue Jersey.