- - Saudi Tour 2023 Stage 1

Saudi Tour 2023 Stage 1

photo credits @ Saudi Tour 

Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco-AlUla) took a convincing victory in the opening stage of the Saudi Tour today, beating Dušan Rajović (Bahrain Victorious) and Max Walscheid (Cofidis) to the line at the end of the 180 kilometer stage in Khaybar, after  coming out on top from a small lead group following a late crash that split the peloton.

The Dutch rider came off the back of a two-man Jayco lead-out after Zdenek Stybar and Luka Mezgec pulled him to the front in the final kilometer, usurping DSM’s place at the front, before easing to a clear win, his eighth for the Australian team.


After 3 kilometers of racing, six riders powered away: Hansen (UXT), Goikoetxea (EUS), Van Der Bekken (BWB), Iacchi (COR), Mohd Zariff (TSG) and Takeyama (JCL). Their advantage grew rapidly over a rather quiet pack: 2’50’’ after 10kms, 4’10’’ after 20. The first Intermediate average sprint (km 62) was claimed by Hansen while the gap reached a maximum 5’20’’. Under the influence of Team Jayco AlUla of Dylan Groenewegen, the pack moved closer to the escapees.


Just before the second intermediate active sprint, Peio Goikoetxea pulled away in his quest for the most active rider’s blue jersey. Just after making it first to the line, the Spaniard was caught by his mail rival Hansen. At the bonus sprint (km 135), Hansen outsprinted his opponent to conquer the blue jersey. The Dane would eventually be the last man standing as Goikoetxea stopped his efforts due to cramps. With 25kms to go, Markus Hansen could still enjoy a 2’ lead but his solo adventure stopped just under 15kms from the finish.  


Despite timid attempts and a crash, the pack remained bunched all the way to the final straight in Khaybar. Perfectly led out by his blue and white train including the precious likes of Luka Mezgec, Dylan Groenewegen comfortably conquered his first win of the season. The Dutchman who had already won two stages in Saudi Arabia last year beat Dusan Rajovic (TBV) and Max Walscheid (COF) to the line.  


The five-time Tour de France stage winner naturally takes command of the general classification and will be wearing the leader’s Red Jersey for tomorrow’s second stage that heads to Shalal Sijlyat Rocks. He also leads the points classification while Marcus Hansen will be wearing the best young rider’s white jersey.


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