The opening stage of the 2023 Saudi Tour saw Dylan Groenewegen of Jayco AlUla take the victory after 180.5km of racing. A hectic finish saw a crash in the last 1km but led out by teammate Luka Mezgec, Groenewegen was able to skirt past the danger and be taken to the victory. Serbian Dusan Rajovic of Bahrain Victorious was 2nd ahead of Max Walscheid from Cofidis.
“It was really hectic. We did a lot of work. DSM worked and the breakaway was really strong. We were motivated to show ourselves and we were really strong. We waited for a good moment and then we went. We did a lot of video work from last year, what we did good and what went wrong. We also have some new strong guys in the team. [Stybar] is really good from QuickStep, and I know if I stay on Luka’s wheel it’s the best one.
[Earlier] the peloton split and then I had a flat. I said immediately that the whole team had to wait. The team performance was really strong today and we’re really happy that we could take the first win of the season.”Dylan Groenewegen
The start of the stage saw a six-man breakaway go clear and gain an advantage of 5 minutes before the chase work brought it downwards. The 6 became 2 as Peio Goikoetxea of Euskatel-Euskadi and Marcus Sander Hansen on Uno-X pushed on. The punctures started with 40km to go with the wind blowing dirt and gravel onto the road. Groenewegen suffered 3 punctures all in all on today’s stage before winning it. With 20km to the finish, it was just Sander Hansen at the front of the race and 8km later, he was caught by the peloton as well.
As the sprint trains powered on, Matt Gibson of Human Powered Health and 2 Bingoal riders were seen to crash at speed. Despite the work of Team DSM to try and box in their rival, Jayo-AlUla and Dylan Groenewegen had the answers on the day.
The Saudi Tour 2023 Stage One results
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