First pro win for Waerenskjold
February 1 st 2023 - 19:29 [GMT + 3]
After two stages designed for sprinters, it looked like it would be the GC specialists’ turn to battle for glory at the Saudi Tour.
But despite the steep final climb before the finish in Abu Rakah, young Norwegian wonder boy Sören Waerenskjold managed to conquer his first ever pro victory after winning the decisive group sprint. The 2022 U23 time trial World Champion beat yesterday’s winner Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious) to the line while Cees Bol (Astana Qazaqstan Team) finished third. In the general classification, Milan captures the leader’s Green jersey.
For some, exhausted, it was good news, for others a disappointment, but as they woke up this morning, the wind had suddenly calmed down and the temperature slightly dropped. As they took off for the third stage of the Saudi Tour, the 106 remaining riders of the peloton could expect a slightly calmer day in the sun. On the menu: 159.2kms from the Al Manshiyah Train Station to Abu Rakah. After battling it out during the first two stages, the sprinters knew that it would probably be the turn of the GC boys to shine on the final climb of the day.
5 MEN AT THE FRONT
As soon as km 0 was passed, four men broke away: Alabdulmunim (SAU), Juaristi (EUS), Barac and Masotto (COR). They would rapidly be caught by a fifth rider, Yamamoto (JCL). Not too concerned, the peloton let the front men go clear. After only 10kms, the gap had reached 2’30’’. It even went up to 8’30’’ at km45 when team Jayco AlUla of race leader Dylan Groenewegen decided to push harder. The Aussie squad even managed to split the pack into two but a left hand turn and the resulting headwind calmed things down.
JUARISTI LAST MAN STANDING
At the first intermediate active sprint (km72) won by Juaristi, the pack had moved closer (6’10’’). The Spaniard would also be the last man to remain in the lead while all his breakaway companions were gradually caught. After capturing 3 seconds and points at the bonus sprint (km 122) he was finally caught. From then on a new race started. The pack at a very fast pace made it bunched to the second intermediate active sprint (km153) where Juaristi beat Rajovic and Kepplinger.
FIRST PRO WIN FOR WAERENSKJOLD
On the final climb of the day heading towards the heights of Abu Rakah, Zdenek Stybar (JAY) managed to pull away before being caught, first by Buitrago (TBV) and then by a group of around twenty men. Victory was finally decided in a small bunched sprint. Fourth of the opening stage of this Saudi Tour, Soren Waerenskjold (UXT) flew to his first ever professional success. The rising star of Norwegian cycling who conquered the U23 World time-trial title last year in Wollongong managed to beat Jonathan Milan (TBV) and Cees Bol (AST) to the line.
MILAN NEW LEADER
In the new general classification, Milan captures the leader’s Green jersey with an 8’’ lead over Bol and 16’’ over Kanter (MOV) with two more stages to go. The Italian also remains the best young rider (White jersey) and takes command of the points classification (Red jersey) while Marcus Hansen (UXT) keeps his most active rider’s Blue jersey.