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Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain-Victorious) attacked to victory on stage 2 of the Saudi Tour.
The 22-year-old Colombian jumped clear of the bunch, which had been vastly diminished by the stage’s rolling terrain, on the final gravel climb to Abu Rakah.
Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe) was the only rider that could follow his initial move but he was soon dropped as Andrea Bagioli (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) scrambled across the gap.
The pair rode into the final kilometer together but Buitrago was not prepared to take Bagioli to the line and put in a second stinging dig with just over 200 meters to go. The Italian had no response and Buitrago pushed on to take his first career victory.
“I’m really happy to win the stage today. It’s amazing. The team did great work for me the whole stage. The team did an incredible job for me today, to prevent any echelons,” Buitrago said. “We had quite a lot of wind. When it was 1 km to go, I saw that I had good legs. We were only three guys fighting at the final.
“It was very tricky, and I didn’t think that I would have a lot of opportunities to win in the sprint, so I decided to try earlier. I wanted to show my gratitude to the whole team for the job done, all the riders and staff. This is the first victory in my career and the first one in the season for the team. This is incredible. Thanks to the team for trusting me. It’s not the last one for sure.”
Race leader, and stage 1 winner Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) put in a mighty effort to limit his losses on the difficult finale. He was unable to bring Buitrago back, but he crossed the line just 10 seconds behind the Colombian.
Thanks to his win, Buitrago has moved up into the race lead but he holds only a slim margin of just seven seconds over Ewan.
— Saudi Tour طواف السعودية (@thesauditour) February 2, 2022
The early part of the stage was marked by a three-rider break containing Jeroen Meijers (Terengganu Polygon Cycling Team), Polychronis Tzortzakis (Kuwait Pro Cycling Team), and Martin Bugge Urianstad (Uno-X). The break stayed out for most of the day with the final rider caught shortly before the 12km to go mark.
A series of late attacks trimmed down what was left of the peloton, leaving a select few as it hit the bottom of the final climb. Buitrago bided his time until he was within sniffing distance of the finish line, and holding a slim advantage over the chasers as the road flattened for the final few meters.
2022 Saudi Tour Stage 2 Results
- Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain-Victorious) 03:43:51
- Andrea Bagioli (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), at :01
- Anthon Charmig (Uno-X), at :07
- Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain-Victorious) 08:25:33
- Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), at :07
- Anthon Charmig (Uno-X), at :13