Jonathan Milan sprinted to second place on stage 3 of the Saudi Tour saw, which moved the Italian into the overall leader jersey and the sprinter jersey while keeping hold of the best young rider jersey.
The 159 km stage from Al Manshiya to Abu Rakah again had riders fighting through headwinds and crosswinds. A breakaway was allowed to go clear but managed by the peloton, giving them a maximum gap of 8 minutes. While the stage was mostly flat, a 1km climb in the finale was the only obstacle away from another bunch sprint.
An early attack was launched as the peloton got to the foot of the climb by Pascal Ackerman (Team UAE Emirates), followed by Zdenek Stybar (Jayco AlUla), who went over the top of Pascal. Buitrago followed the attack, but with a headwind on the final stretch down to the finish, it made it hard for them to get away, and it was all back together for a sprint for those who managed to stay in touch over the climb.
Jonathan Milan was one of the sprinters who managed to contest the final and launched his sprint early, but Soren Waerenskjold (Uno X), supported by a two-man lead out, beat Milan to the line.
Jonathan Milan: “This stage was quite hard as well, with a lot of wind and crosswinds. The plan was to go with Santi on the last climb, and me just to follow behind and to save as much energy if it was a bunch sprint coming. I started my sprint with 200 meters to go, but Soren was faster than me, so congratulations to him. Yes, I’m really happy with the leader’s jersey, while tomorrow is a crucial stage for our GC rider, Santiago, so we’ll look out for him.”
SD Enrico Poitschke: “The team worked this stage as we planned. We allowed a small break to the front so we didn’t have to do hard work up front, but we assigned Rainer to help on the front to chase the big gap breakaway made. We started pushing towards the final to position ourselves before the climb, Santiago had a task to follow attacks, and he did it perfectly, Johnny tried to stay with the leaders over the climb and he did well, and they all come together so we had a sprint. Johnny opened the sprint too early with the headwind, so that was a small mistake. In general, we had a good stage, the team worked very well together, and now we are in the leading jersey and again second in the stage. Tomorrow is the stage with the hard climb and we’ll try to win a stage with Santiago.”
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