Fernando Gaviria made a promising start to his 2022 season with 3rd place on Stage 1 of the Saudi Tour, with team-mate Felix Gross finishing just behind in 6th place.
The 198km route, with start and finish around Winter Park, was largely flat with a gravel section coming inside the final 20km.
The fastest man in the Middle East, UAE Team Emirates’ very own Emirati rider, Yousif Mirza, made a daring solo attack just after the hectic gravel section, building up a gap of 20’’ and helping the team into a strong position for the finish.
The brave attempt by the Emirati champion came undone with just under 2.5km to the line when the sprint trains reeled him back for the big group gallop.
Australian Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) was quickest on the day and subsequently won the stage with Colombian fastman Gaviria close on his wheel in 3rd place.
Gaviria: ”It was a fast stage out there. We didn’t win but I’m pleased with the team, they worked well. The lead out came together nicely and I could wait until the last moment to open up, but was just missing that little bit.
“The gravel section was cool, it was hard but thankfully all our guys passed it without any problems although we heard there were some crashes behind. Tomorrow will be another day, maybe a harder day and we’ll aim for the victory again,” he added.
Stage 2 sees the racing at Saudi Tour continue from Taibah University to Abu Rakah (163.9km) with a hilly finish.UAE SportCycling