Report: SaudiTour – stage 2

Stage 2 of the SaudiTour saw Niccolo Bonifazio win the stage while Rui Costa hangs on to the overall; Charles Page of Ribble Weldtite was 14th

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Report: SaudiTour – stage 2

Stage 1 Report Here

Just a day after crashing hard during the opening stage of the Saudi Tour, Niccoló Bonifazio hit back in style. The Italian powered to the line in impressive style to claim his first win of the season in Al Bujairi. In the bunch sprint, the Total Direct Energie rider beat Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain-McLaren) and Nacer Bouhanni (Arkéa-Samsic) to the line. Finishing in the peloton, Rui Costa keeps the overall leader’s Green jersey.

Photo: @SaudiTour (twitter)

After yesterday’s opening stage, the 118 remaining riders of the inaugural Saudi Tour gathered by the splendid Sadus Castle for the start of stage 2. The riders took off at 11:22 for a 187-km stage heading back south-east towards Riyadh. As soon as the first kilometre was covered, four riders broke away: Van Melsen (Circus-Wanty Gobert), Fuentes (Burgos-BH), Holler (Bike AID) and Nicolau (Caja Rural Seguros RGA).

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Their advantage increased very rapidly from 1’40” at km 5 to 3’15” at km 30. The first two intermediate active sprints were claimed by Fuentes while the peloton reached km 75 with a 3’45” time deficit. That was just after Mark Cavendish (Bahrain-McLaren) recovered from a 10-man crash and came back to the peloton. The gap to the leaders carried on growing and reached 5’25” at the third sprint where Fuentes again won the most points, extending his lead in the Most Active Rider classification.

From then on, the teams UAE Emirates, Arkea-Samsic and Bahrain-McLaren moved to the front of the peloton and started chasing. With 25kms to go, the gap had dropped to 1’10”. The front four were eventually caught with 12 kms remaining. The peloton remained together all the way to the final straight situated in Al Bujairi. On the slightly uphill straight, Niccolo Bonifazio (Total Direct Energie) remained on the wheel of Haussler before powering to the line ahead of the Australian.

Stage 1 winner Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) keeps his overall leader’s Green jersey while Nacer Bouhanni takes command of the Points classification (red jersey) and Andreas Kron remains the best Young rider.

Photos: James Huntly Photography

For the second day in a row, the British team Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling held their own in the high ranking race with new signing Charles Page saying afterwards “Overall the race was fairly controlled although very tense with a number of crashes. Every time the wind direction turned, all teams were on high alert meaning you couldn’t switch off for a second”.

“The last 50km was basically fast and draggy back into town and the team rode well to keep position up until 10km to go. The race then went really crazy and hectic, no team had the horsepower to control the race and as such it was very chaotic and difficult to maintain position. The final 3k was twisty with a lot of roundabouts and road furniture as it headed through a national trust park. With 1km to go there was a short kicker which the winner attacked on with two others. I basically just kept fighting as best I could through the final trying to move up as many places as possible!”

SaudiTour – stage 2
1. Niccolo Bonifazio Total Direct Energie 04:32:31
2. Phil Bauhaus Bahrain – McLaren @ 02
3. Nacer Bouhanni Team Arkéa – Samsic @ 02
4. Timothy Dupont Circus – Wanty Gobert @ 02
5. Jens Debusschere B&B Hotels – Vital Concept @ 02

14. Charles Page Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling @ 02
17. Rui Costa UAE Team Emirates @ 02
19. Connor Swift Team Arkéa – Samsic @ 02
29. Matthew Gibson Burgos – BH @ 02
32. Daniel McLay Team Arkéa – Samsic @ 02
42. Mark Cavendish Bahrain – McLaren @ 12
45. James Shaw Riwal Readynez Cycling @ 12
50. Steve Lampier Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling @ 12
57. Fred Wright Bahrain – McLaren @ 12
62. Zeb Kyffin Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling @ 27
65. Jacob Tipper Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling @ 34
70. Oliver Moors Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling @ 34
90. Jack Rees Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling @ 47
97. Richard Jones Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling @ 47

1. Rui Costa UAE Team Emirates 08:24:35
2. Heinrich Haussler Bahrain – McLaren @ 1 sec
3. Nacer Bouhanni Team Arkéa – Samsic @ 2 secs
21. Connor Swift Team Arkéa – Samsic @ 22 secs

Young Rider GC
1. Andreas Kron
2. Connor Swift @13 secs
5. James Shaw @ 23 secs

Full Result Stage 2:



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