Søren Wærenskjold timed his run to the line perfectly on the third stage of the Saudi Tour. The stage finished with an uphill drag and a tough intro the last 1km meant that sprint trains were fractured. Uno-X managed to hold theirs mostly together and spur Wærenskjold onto his first pro win ahead of the winner of yesterday’s Stage 2 Jonathan Milan. Cees Bol of Astana continues his consistent week with another 3rd place. For Søren Wærenskjold, a former Under-23 World TT champion, taking a sprint victory might not have been how he saw his career developing!
After flatter stages, today’s Stage 3 of the Saudi Tour was the hilliest so far. Dylan Groenewegen had to settle for 52nd place in the end after being distanced on the series of steep ramps that punctuated the final 1,500 metres of racing. Ultimately, the Dutch rider may feel like this was another missed opportunity after being surprised by Milan yesterday. His result today means that Milan now takes over the leader, points and young rider jerseys with 2 stages to go.
Jonathan Milan now leads the GC by 8 seconds over Cees Bol, with Max Kanter 16 seconds back in 3rd place. With 10 bonus seconds for finishing 1st on each stage, the GC is certainly not closed off yet. Especially as there is a major climb tomorrow with only a few kilometres to go until the finish. Around 3km at 12% may see Milan and Bol drop and any GC hopes from their current positions then over. The final stage is almost similar to today’s 3rd stage.
“I think it’s just a matter of time before we do even better. I think we just have to continue what we’re doing as we know that it works. We just have to get the details correct, like when we did everything right in the final today. Now, stepping up on the biggest stage, we’re not just here to show up. We want to look good, but we also want to win.
We brought some new riders in, some new riders came up from the development team, and it’s all part of the plan of getting closer towards our goal. Every race we go to we’re aiming for a win, here, or even the Tour de France. We’re not going on holiday. I think we have a really good shot with some of our top class riders, and of course, they need backup from the other guys. It is a good journey from the development team to the top. We have many riders who are capable of winning.”Leonard Snoeks, UNO-X sports director
“I just knew that it was a bit of a steep climb. It was steep at the end before it went downhill again. I surfed a little bit to get back into the peloton to save myself for the sprint. I knew when the guys went really hard at the bottom I couldn’t follow, so we did it perfectly. Today we took the right side, so we finally got the wind from the left. We did really badly at the end yesterday, and we learned from that, so today we did it.
We have two fourths in the first stages, so it’s been really good, creating good morale for the team. We try to continue to do well, and tomorrow it’s Jacob’s [Hindsgaul] turn, so I think he can do well in that climb. Today he was one of the leadout men. It’s going to be exciting for the rest of this week now.”Søren Wærenskjold
Saudi Tour 2023 Stage 3 results
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