The Movistar Team continues to show in 2023 the face every fan wants to see from them: the one from a relentless squad, always fighting, with every single member committed to their cause, and obviously, a triumphant one. And for the second time in this early season, a new addition to the team, in his very first outing in Blue colours, came across the line first. It was Portuguese climber Ruben Guerreiro, the strongest on the slopes of Harrat Uwayrid, who claimed stage four and the leader’s jersey in the Saudi Tour.
The win was the result of a true team effort, just like over the last three days on Arab soil. Óscar Rodríguez and Juri Hollmann worked from the very start to place their team-mates at the front. Mathias Norsgaard and sprinter Max Kanter -5th at two finishes already this week- led the group from the bottom of the 3km, 12% avg. climb. And Will Barta -5th at the finish- and Gregor Mühlberger -6th- kept the pace high so Ruben was able to make his climbing speed count and create a four-man elite selection with Grossschartner, Formolo (UAD) and Buitrago (TBV).
Managing his weakness in numbers against the UAE riders with tremendous intelligence, the ‘Cowboy of Pegões’, who had taken a 3″ bonus over the top of Harrat Uwayrid, won the sprint convincingly and built what is a now an 8″ advantage over Formolo, with Buitrago 9″ adrift, ahead of the final day of the Saudi Tour. The gravel road of Hegra, halfway through the stage, and a slightly uphill finish in Maraya will decide the race’s outcome.
“It was a really hard, really tough finish, just like the whole day. We knew this climb well, because our first training ride here was on the ascent. We didn’t know how the legs would go after three fundamentally flat stages, and it’s also been quite a stressful race, so there was a question mark on how our legs would go. My team-mates were incredibly. My sports director, Yvon Ledanois; the whole staff, soigneurs, mechanics – I’m so thankful to all of them. This victory is for them, as well as for my family. I’m so grateful for the opportunity Eusebio and this family gave me to be part of them. Since day one, I’ve felt this was the right choice, and it makes me happy to dedicate this to them.