A sprinter renewed, a sprint to make a double and a bold breakaway. The racing keeps delivering this week.
Stage 4, Saudi Tour
A day of aggressive racing ended, once again, with a hotly contested sprint finish. This time Arkea Samsic delivered new sprint signing Nacer Bouhanni to his first victory for the team and his first since August 2018. The Frenchman got his head down and kept his sprint straight to just pip Niccolo Boniazio (Total Direct Energie). Astana’s Yevgeney Gidich rounded out the podium.
Rui Costa and UAE Team Emirates put the race leader under severe pressure, at one point gaining over a minute after Bauhaus suffered a puncture and the wheel change was less than slick. Bahrain McLaren rode out of their skins to bring the gap back and give the young German the best opportunity – but it was too much to expect him to sprint. The 10 second bonification on the line puts Bouhanni in green by two seconds.
All the love for BouBou
It must such a relief to get this victory with Arkea. I hope the winning feeling carries right on #AllezNacer
GC and Jerseys
Stage 3, Etoile des Besseges
A classic Etoile-style, edge-of-your-seat-exciting finish. Breakaway trio – Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix), Georg Zimmerman (CCC) and Robbe Ghys (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) – rode like demons to stay ahead of a charging peloton. Ghys was caught just before the line and De Bondt just got himself ahead Zimmerman for the win. EF Pro-Cycling’s Magnus Cort won the group sprint for third. Alexys Brunel finished safely in the group and retains the race lead by three seconds.
The race organisers dedicated stage three to Raymond Poulidor, he would surely have approved of such a a great day of racing.
Champagne for Alpecin Fenix who have had a great start to their season and show they are not just all about a certain Mr Van der Poel.
Heal well Matteo
Trek-Segafredo’s Matteo Moschetti was involved in nasty crash 15km from the finish line. The young Italian who has had a brilliant start to season, sustained a fracture to the right acetabulum socket of his pelvis along with a dislocation of the right femur (report here). This is awful news and we wish him a good recovery.
Stage 3, Volta la Comunitat Valenciana
Dylan Groenewegen had it all to do in the finale when a late crash left him with ground to make up. Jumbo-Visma brought him back and the Dutchman came late and fast to grab his second victory from fellow countryman Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck Quickstep). Matej Mohoric (Bahrain McLaren) placed third.
The race lead passes from Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) to Mitchelton-Scott’s Jack Haig by dint of the Australian’s better placing on the stage. I am certain the the GC times will look very different after the peloton tackle the Altea climb on stage 4. OUCH!!!
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