RIYADH: After five days of racing at the Saudi Tour, a team effort ensured the green jersey was on Bahrain McLaren’s Phil Bauhaus when it counted.
The last stage of the inaugural Saudi Tour started from Princess Nourah University, consisting of a flat 144km passing through the centre of Riyadh and finishing by Al Masmak Palace.
From the off, four riders formed a breakaway, gaining a maximum gap of around three minutes. With 25km to go the peloton started closing the gap, and caught breakaway inside 8km.
The team was in control at the front of the peloton for most of the race, but other teams were made to do their work. With 2km to go, Bahrain McLaren ensured Haussler, Sieberg and Cavendish were leading out for Bauhaus. In the end, it was a sprint between Bauhaus and Bouhanni, in which Bauhaus prevailed, winning stage five and GC at the Saudi Tour.
“It’s just an awesome feeling. I’ve never experienced to win a GC. It’s really something special for me. And win straight at the first race it’s fantastic. Yesterday I was very unlucky with the flat tyre and today we showed again how strong we are,” said Bauhaus.
“I’m super happy with today’s stage win. I couldn’t have done it without the team. They were super strong in every situation to help me. They worked all day. Also, the former world champion Mark Cavendish did a great job for me today. It’s my first ever overall win.”
His Majesty’s Representative for Charity Works and Youth Affairs, National Security Advisor and president of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa hailed Bahrain Mclaren team members after its cyclist Phil Bauhaus topped the general standing and earned the green shirt.
“Bahrain Mclaren team is moving according to a well-studied plan that aims at allowing the team to achieve the best results in major international events. Winning first place in the Saudi Tour boosts our motivation to continue backing the team in the upcoming competitions,” said Shaikh Nasser.
Sports Director Vladimir Miholjevic was delighted about the team and the win. “Yesterday we already showed that we are a very good team, maybe the best in the race, and that we are capable of controlling any situation we find in the race, but we lost the jersey, that’s cycling,” said Miholjevic
“Today we put everything in for the stage victory. The tactic was to control the breakaway and let it suit us with no more than four or five riders.
“We found the perfect situation because part of the breakaway was Madrazo from Spanish Burgos BH team and he was only 30 seconds behind the overall leader, so that put extra pressure on Team Arkea – Samsic.
“So we decided that we shouldn’t care, and if they want to control the leader’s jersey they need to work in this stage, and they did it.
“In the end, we executed the perfect lead-out with the full team, just as we planned at the team meeting. The guys did an excellent job and Heinrich, Marcel, Mark, Fred, Jan and Grega put Phil in the perfect position 200m to go and Phil showed that he’s the strongest sprinter in this race.
“He brought great satisfaction to himself, all teammates and all staff that are part of this expedition. We proved that we did a great job during the winter, because it wasn’t just Phil, it was a great team result at the end.”