Italian Simone Consonni negotiated the traffic in the final sprint perfectly to take victory on the final stage of this year’s Saudi Tour. Despite the strong-looking lead-out from Jayco-AlUla, Dylan Groenewegen was briefly split from his main lead-out Luka Mezgec and the effort to close up appeared to suck some energy from the finale. Groenewegen was exposed to the wind for too long and that allowed Consonni and Ackermann to come around the Dutch rider. Ruben Guerreiro had no issues in keeping the GC lead he earned on yesterday’s Stage 4 and secured the overall victory.
There was nothing that looked too threatening to Guerreiro’s lead on paper before today’s stage and that’s how it played out. 143 kilometres between AlUla Old Town and Maraya played out relatively calmly for the Movistar rider, with even a gravel section proving to be incident-free. The day’s breakaway saw Marcus Sander Hansen joined by Txomin Juraisti of Euskatel-Euskadi, Kamil Malecki of Q36.5, Ceriel Desl of Bingoal WB and 2 members of Corratec.
The gravel arrived with 34km to go to the finish, at which point the time the gap to the break was just one minute. With the gravel successfully conquered and the gap down to 40 seconds, Mark Donovan attacked to try to bridge across to the break. That fired Jayco-AlUla into action as they looked to try and secure another sprint victory for Dylan Groenwegen this week.
The break was caught with 3.8km left to go and then the lead-outs took over. The uphill drag seemed to suck the Jayco-AlUla train into going too hard too early and Cofidis’ Simone Consonni was the rider who timed it to perfection. His win and the bonus seconds took him up to 7th in GC but there were no changes to the GC ahead of the Italian.c
Main photo credit: Charly Lopez
Saudi Tour 2023 Stage 5 results
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