Last stage for Consonni, Guerreiro wins the Saudi Tour
February 3 rd 2023 - 18:05 [GMT + 3]
After visiting some of the most spectacular sites of AlUla including the UNESCO world heritage site of Hegra, the final stage of the Saudi Tour came down to a bunched sprint. Just above the mirrored Maraya concert hall, Simone Consonni (Cofidis) made the best of his punchy sprint to beat Matteo Malucelli (Bingoal WB) and Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates). The final general classification and this 2023 Saudi Tour was won by Portugal’s Ruben Guerreiro who finished safely in the bunch.
It was time for the final showdown. Before the start of the fifth and last stage of the Saudi Tour the first three of the general classification were within ten seconds, Ruben Guerreiro (MOV) leading the way with a slim 8” advantage over Formolo (UAE) and 9” over Buitrago (TBV). In other words anything could still happen especially with a gravel section through the UNESCO World heritage site of Hegra on the menu of the day’s 143-km race where a puncture could occur at any time. There would indeed be quite a possibility for some drama.
BATTLE FOR BREAKAWAY
For this final day of the event, the 102 remaining riders all gathered together at the start in the old town of AlUla. With still a lot at stake in all the different standings, the battle was intense to get into the day’s breakaway. Desal (BWB) was the first man to go clear of the pack at km 15. The Belgian was soon caught by five other men: blue jersey Hansen (UXT), Malecki (Q36), Juaristi (EUS), Iacchi and Van Empel (both COR). At the first intermediate active sprint (km 21) won by Hansen ahead of Juaristi and Malecki, the front six could enjoy a 2’25’’ advantage.
HANSEN CLOSES IN ON BLUE JERSEY
Eager to try and win a second stage on this Saudi Tour, team Jayco AlUla started chasing down the escapees. At the second Intermediate active sprint (km 71) Hansen moved a step closer to the final blue jersey by again beating Juaristi and Malecki. Meanwhile the pack remained 1’50’’ adrift. With UAE team Emirates and Movistar helping out at the front of the pack, the gap carried on dropping as the riders went through the gravel section of the spectacular Hegra site. As the pack excited the UNESCO world heritage site, Donovan (Q36) took off on a counter-attack. With 25kms to go, the front 6 had a 25’’ lead over the British rider and 55’’ over the pack. Just before the bonus sprint, Donovan stopped his vain solo effort. That all important sprint (km 122) was to be claimed by Juaristi ahead of Hansen, guaranteed of winning the blue jersey.
THIRD PRO WIN FOR CONSONNI
With 15kms to go, the gap has dropped down to 35’’. Seeing the pack move dangerously closer, Malecki gave it a final go on his own. He would be the last man standing of the breakaway but was caught with just under 2 kilometres to go. The pack remained bunched for the final uphill straight just by the Maraya concert hall. On this punchy type finish, Simone Consonni (COF) flew to victory, beating Malucelli (BWB) and Ackermann (UAE). The Italian Olympic and World team pursuit champion conquers his third professional win, his first of 2023.
FIRST STAGE RACE WIN FOR GUERREIRO
Finishing safely among the peloton in 16th position, Ruben Guerreiro (MOV) wins this third edition of the Saudi Tour ahead of Davide Formolo (UAE) and Santiago Buitrago (TBV). The Portuguese conquers his first ever stage win. Thanks to his fourth position on the final stage, Dylan Groenewegen (JAY) wins the points classification (red jersey) while Buitrago finishes best young rider (white jersey) and UAE is crowned best team.