Jonathan Milan of Bahrain Victorious sneaked a victory on the second stage of the 2023 Saudi Tour ahead of Dylan Groenewegen. It came down to a photo finish, with the Italian just ahead by enough on the line. Dylan Groenewegen had looked like cruising to another victory after winning stage one but a late kick from Milan took the honours. The GC lead is unchanged though as Groenewegen still has 6 seconds over Milan, with Max Walscheid in 3rd 12 seconds back.
Stage two was the longest day of racing at 184km and the straight roads in the desert strung out the bunch. Crosswinds began to take their toll with the likes of Sander Hansen of Uno-X and Goiogana of Euskatel-Euskadi, both active on stage one, dropped from the peloton. The bunch didn’t contest the intermediate sprint, which Max Walscheid picked off. Bahrain’s GC hope Santiago Buitrago was also dropped and the team had to sacrifice its sprinter Dusan Rajovic, 2nd yesterday, to help him bridge back.
A late attack with 8km to go saw Mathias Norsgaard of Movistar gain a small gap. Around this time Buitrago was brought back to the peloton but Rajovic was done for the stage because of the efforts. Pascal Ackermann suffered for the second day in a row. The move from Norsgaard was caught with 2km to go and despite the attentions of the fast men, Jonathan Milan was able to hold off both Groenewegen and Bol for a somewhat surprise victory.
“I finished last year with 2 victories in the CRO Race. My goal was to start the new season with victories here, not just for me but for the team. Yesterday we tried with Dušan [Rajović] and he finished second with nice teamwork. I had some problems in the last kilometre with my cassette and I couldn’t help my teammate in the final.
Today they helped me and I’m super happy with this result. All the team supported me and I’m super happy and super thankful. It was super hard. The first 80km the wind was coming from the back, then we had crosswind, headwind and again crosswind in the final here.”Jonathan Milan
Saudi Tour 2023 stage two results
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