Dušan Rajović sprinted to second place on his Team Bahrain Victorious debut coming up short to Dylan Groenewegen from Team Jayco AlUla.
The first stage of the Saudi Tour started from AlUla International Airport to Khaybar on a 180km flat parcour, with the peloton only having to be wary of the crosswinds that were present for most of the day to impact the chances of a bunch sprint. The day’s breakaway of 6 riders were given a maximum lead of 6 minutes, while Team Jayco AlUla and Bahrain Victorious set the pace to control and catch them, with the last breakaway rider caught with 13km to go, before the fight for positions began ahead of the bunch sprint into Khaybar.
Dušan Rajović: “The last kilometer was nervous; a lot of riders were fighting in the front. We lost Johnny as someone hit his wheel. In the end, second place is not bad, it’s the start of the season. I was thinking I could do better as the team put me in a good position, I was coming from behind but was closed. Second place is not bad, but we’ll keep fighting in the next stages.”
Sports Director Enrico Poitschke commented: “Second place is a good result, although we hoped to win the stage, we also had a lot of bad luck today. We had to stop twice with mechanical problems with Jonathan Milan, one rider hit him, so he couldn’t do the leadoff. During the stage, the team did a good job, they stayed together, and they were in the position to be able to react if needed. It was a hot day, not an easy stage with difficult roads, very bumpy. So taking all in consideration, we are happy with the second place, a very good result for Dušan as we are looking forward to the next stages.”
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