Portuguese rider, supported by unbreakable Movistar Team, claims first GC win as a pro, increases Telefónica-backed squad’s 2023 account to three in a brilliant start to Blues’ season.
The Movistar Team has already achieved its first 2023 stagerace success, and the third victory of the year at February 3rd, as they crowned an excellent week with Ruben Guerreiro and a solid group over the five-day Saudi Tour (UCI 2.1). The Arab event went into the hands of the Telefónica-backed squad after a rather uneventful 142km final stage from Alula to Maraya, where Simone Consonni (COF) took the day’s honours in a ‘volata’ where Max Kanter finished in 5th place.
Óscar Rodríguez, Mathias Norsgaard, Gregor Mühlberger, Juri Hollmann, Will Barta -8th overall- and Kanter supported the ‘Cowboy’ perfectly into a day with gentle winds, where the Hegra gravel road, located about 30km from the end, did not bring any setbacks. The squad here directed by Yvon Ledanois -back in winning ways after more than a decade away from his beloved team- thus starts its Middle East tournée in the best possible way, the Blues now headed into double duty next week with the Tour of Oman / Muscat Classic for the men (starts Friday 10th) and the first ever UAE Tour Women (WWT) from Thursday 9th.
QUOTES / Ruben Guerreiro:
“I’m so happy about this, for me and also for my team, who did an amazing job all this week — the whole squad, our riders and staff. It’s been an amazing few days here.
“We could manage our way to the finish with no complications. To be honest, it was actually kind of easy; the wind gave us sort of an opportunity to be relaxed, the gravel road went nicely and the attacks at the front were more of an entertainment than a real fight for the GC. It was emotional to cross this final kilometer in the leader’s jersey, though not easy; the final part was tricky and technical, and I tried to be at the front and use my legs to stay within the top-10 to hopefully help Max, but there were too many teams with good sprinters and I had to stay content with finishing safe on the wheel with the same time as the leaders; that ended up being the priority.