photo credits @ Saudi Tour
Ruben Guerreiro (Movistar) emerged victorious in stage 4 of the Saudi Tour, beating Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates), Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) and Felix Großschartner (UAE Team Emirates) in a sprint final to claim today’s Queen stage atop the Skyviews of Harrat Uwayrid platform.
The four riders got away on the climb up to the plateau and held off a determined, but fractured chase.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious) was part of the third chase group and finished just 28 seconds down on Guerreiro, conceding the overall race lead to the Portuguese rider. Milan is now fifth overall at 24 seconds.Guerreiro now leads Formolo by eight seconds, with Buitrago third at nine seconds. He will have to defend the green leader’s jersey during Friday’s final rolling 142.9km stage, where the sprinters are expected to return to the fore.
Despite quite a few attempts, it wasn’t before km 24 that three men managed to break away: Engelhardt (JAY), Zukowsky (Q36) and Barac (COR). These three were rapidly caught by Mohd Zariff (TSG) and the gap reached 2’10’’ at km 30. The first intermediate active sprint was claimed by Barac while the pack started chasing led by team Bahrain Victorious of green jersey Milan and title contender Buitrago. Shortly after, white jersey wearer and 9th overall, Andoni Lopez de Abetzuko (EUS) was forced to retire after an incident with another rider that saw him crash out.
ZUKOWSKY LAST TO BE CAUGHT
The second intermediate active sprint (km 106) was again claimed by Barac while the pack had the escapees under control (1’45’’). At the end of the second of two big loops around AlUla, the pack led by UnoX pushed hard. With 15kms to go, Zukowsky was the last man at the front while his companions were caught. The Canadian was finally caught after 150kms.
FOUR MEN POWER AWAY
As soon as the first kilometres of the final climb the heavy sprinters were dropped: Groenewegen (JAY), Ackermann (UAE), Waerenskjold (UXT). At the front four men managed to power away: Buitrago (TBV), Formolo, Grossschartner (both UAE) and Guerreiro (MOV). At the summit where Guerreiro won the bonus sprint and its precious 3 seconds, the front group had an advantage of 20’’ over the first chasers and 1’ over the green jersey group of Jonathan Milan. There were still eight kilometres to cover until the finish line but the front four managed to remain clear. The stage win eventually went to Ruben Guerreiro ahead of Formolo and Buitrago. The Portuguese who won a stage of the Giro back in 2020 as well as the KOM jersey that same year claims his first win of the season under his new Movistar colours.
GUERREIRO IN GREEN
Thanks to the 13 bonus seconds he captured on the day (10” at the finish + 3” at the bonus sprint), Guerreiro takes command of the general classification with an 8” lead over Formolo and 9” over Buitrago. The 28-year-old will be wearing the green jersey on the final day of the event with the hope of keeping it for good. Meanwhile Buitrago becomes the best young rider (white jersey) and Milan keeps the lead of the points classification (red jersey). Marcus Hansen (UXT) also keep the blue jersey of the most active rider.
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