Feb 7th, 2020. – After our first win of the season, Phil Bauhaus started today’s stage in the green leader’s jersey. Stage four was a 137km ride from Wadi Namar Park. The relatively short stage of 137km took us through the western side of Riyadh.
The breakaway had lead up to 5 minutes, and 4 minutes before the first climb. Rui Costa and his teammates from attacked on the first climb but did not manage to make a gap. At the bottom of the second climb, Phil Bauhaus had a puncture and lost more than a minute. Rui Costa used the situation to attack again, and he with a few UAE Emirates teammates managed to bridge it to the breakaway. With 20km to go, they had a 1:15 advantage to Phil Bauhaus. From that point it was downhill for 5km and then flat. We kept eating away at Costa’s advantage, and it was pure teamwork on display. We did catch Costa’s group with 3.5 km to go through amazing teamwork and set Bauhaus for the sprint. Phil finished 10th while Nacer Bouhanni won, and with the 10 seconds bonus for the win, Nacer took over the green jersey. It was a monumental effort by our team, and the loss of the jersey should be quickly forgotten, as the amazing team effort has kept the deficit down to two seconds. This is good motivation for tomorrow’s last stage of the Saudi Tour.
Phil Bauhaus said: “I was feeling really good all day and the team did a really good job. At the first climb I still saved energy, and it was a real misfortune that I got a puncture before the second climb. The team showed really good legs in catching back Rui Costa as he had almost 1:30 minutes advantage, but I lost the jersey in the sprint as Bouhanni won. I also was pulling the last 30km, so I couldn’t contend for a win.
Our SD, Vladimir Miholjevic said: “We established the plan to control the race and save the jersey and it was a good plan, but the unfortunate event happened. Our riders showed that they are really strong team, and can manage stress and keep focus to solve the most complex and difficult situations. We knew this race will be decided on bonification seconds. Bouhanni won the stage and now he’s a leader 2 seconds in front of Phil. Tomorrow is a new day, new opportunity and for sure we’ll give our best to get the jersey back.”
Tomorrow is the last stage of the inaugural Saudi Tour. There is still one sprinter’s stage to decide the overall winner.
(all pictures can be used for editorial and non-commercial usage and are copyright @Bettiniphoto @Team Bahrain McLaren)
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