RIYADH: The top three riders remained unchanged on Wednesday after stage two of the inaugural Saudi Tour 2020.
Portuguese cyclist Rui Costa, a member of UAE Team Emirates, held onto his slim overall lead with a combined time of 8 hours 24 minutes and 35 seconds. Australian Heinrich Haussler, who rides for Bahrain-McLaren, remains in second place, just one second behind, followed by Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni, of Team Arkea-Samsic, two seconds off Costa’s pace.
As the competition intensified on day two, Italian rider Niccolo Bonifazio, of French team Total Direct Energie, won the 187 kilometer second stage in a time of 4 hours 32mins and 31 seconds, with Germany’s Phil Bauhaus, of Bahrain-McLaren, second and Bouhanni third. Just two seconds separated the top 34 finishers on the day.
Danish rider Andreas Lorentz Kron, of Riwal Readynez Cycling Team, held onto his lead in the youth section, and also sits in fifth place overall, nine seconds behind Costa.
The second stage began at Sadus Castle and finish at Al-Bujairi historical district of Diriyah Governorate. Thursday’s stage three will set off from King Saud University and the riders will cover 119 km before again finishing at Al-Bujairi.
David Lappartient, president of international sports cycling governing body the International Cycling Union, said on Wednesday that he was pleased to be attending the inaugural Saudi Tour.
“I am happy with the efforts made by those in charge of this race, and the good job they have done in organizing and arranging it,” he said. “I also liked the welcome given by people to the contestants at the start of the race, and their interaction with them.
“I am already looking forward to next year’s event. This year’s race has been a success from the start, from what I have seen and what many of the contestants in Saudi Arabia have told me. They have spoken positively about the race and its organization. This success will encourage many teams to participate in future Saudi Tours.”
He added: “Thank you to the Saudis for their hospitality and generous reception...and thank you for all the efforts made by the sports administration in Saudi Arabia.”
A total of 126 contestants in 18 international teams are competing in the 760 km, five-stage Saudi Tour. The race has been organized by the General Sport Authority, in coordination with the Saudi Cycling Federation, under the patronage of the International Cycling Union, as part of the Kingdom’s Quality of Life Program 2020.