Saudi glory for Van Gils
February 5 th 2022 - 17:46 [GMT + 3]
The final stage of the 2022 Saudi Tour ended, as expected by a bunched sprint and Dylan Groenewegen proved he was the fastest man of the pack claiming a second success on the event. After his master piece on the decisive hilltop finish of stage 4, Maxim Van Gils wins this 2nd edition of the Saudi Tour. In the final general classification, the young Belgian wins by 36’’ over Santiago Buitrago and 48’’ over Rui Costa.
For the final stage of the 2022 Saudi Tour, the 86 remaining riders had the opportunity to discover the splendid Old Town of Al Ula where the start was set. A quick stroll through the picturesque cobbled streets before taking off for a 138-km stage.
BATTLE FOR BLUE
Soon after crossing the km 0 line several riders blasted away. In vain at first. Eventually Jannik Steimle (QST) made his move. The German was later caught by three other men at km 14: Charmig, Blue jersey Urianstad (both UXT) and of course the untiring Tzortzakis ready to battle it out for the Most Active rider’s jersey. At km 25 their advantage over the pack had reached 1’55’’. A gap that was rapidly stabilised by the likes of teams Lotto-Soudal and BikeExchange-Jayco.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED FOR URIANSTAD
At the first Intermediate Active sprint, Tzortzakis captured 3 precious points ahead of his rival Urianstad while the pack had the escapees under control at 1’35’’. After so many efforts this week, Tzortzakis was the first to be dropped. The Greek was swallowed by the chasing pack with 25kms to go. The leading three could then still count on a 50’’ advantage.
STEIMLE LAST MAN CAUGHT
The second Intermediate sprint was claimed by Urianstad which meant he was guaranteed to win the Blue Jersey. Eventually only one man remained in the lead, Steimle, but he was finally caught with exactly one lap to go, on the line where the bonus sprint was claimed by Van Poppel (BOH).
The pack mainly controlled by team Bahrain Victorious remained bunched all the way to the last straight. With just under 3kms to go, Caleb Ewan (LTS) lost all hopes of a second success when he punctured. Well led out by his new BikeExchange team mates, Dylan Groenewegen powered to the line beating Dan McLay (ARK) and Davide Ballerini (QST). The Dutchman wins again on this Saudi Tour and adds a 58th success to his career record. He also wins the Red jersey (point’s classification) ahead of Caleb Ewan by just one point.
VAN GILS, THE REVELATION
Perfectly surrounded by his Lotto-Soudal squad Maxim Van Gils made it to the finish within the peloton and that of course meant a first overall victory in the Middle-East. The young Belgian who had made the difference yesterday at the Skyviews of Harrat Uwayrid wins the general classification ahead of Santiago Buitrago (TBV) and Rui Costa. As well as the Green jersey, the 22-year-old also wins the White jersey for the best young rider. Martin Urianstad (UXT) finishes most active rider of this 2nd edition.