Simon Yates delivers at AlUla Tour
February 3 rd 2024 - 16:45 [GMT + 3]
After four days of an intense battle, it was all to be decided on the final stage to the Skyviews of Harrat Uwayrid. The queen stage of the AlUla tour with its extremely steep final climb crowned Simon Yates (Jayco AlUla). The British rider managed to power away in the climb alongside Lecerf (SOQ), Fisher-Black and Majka (UAE). He then went on to beat his rivals in a group sprint. Second place on the day went to Lecerf ahead of Fisher-Black. Yates wins this AlUla Tour thanks to his precious bonus seconds.
There were some smiling riders at the start of the final stage of this 2024 AlUla Tour, but also some tense ones. Time had come for the final showdown: the queen stage of the event taking off from the picturesque Old Town of AlUla and finishing at the Skyviews of Harrat Uwayrid. And straight from the start, it was ‘flat out’: an intense battle to get into the early breakaway.
AN INTENSE BREAKAWAY BATTLE
Two men managed to pull away at kilometre 2: Pedersen (UNM) and Changizi (TUD). But the two Danes had to give all they had to stay clear of a very fast peloton. They would eventually be caught by two other riders, Conca (Q36) and Koishi (JCL) at km24, and three more, Batsaikhan, Tzortzakis (ROI) and Malucelli (JCL) just before km 30 while the gap over the pack had reached a maximum 2’. Most of these breakaway riders were of course interested by the Most Active rider points up for grabs at the various intermediate sprints. The first of them (at km 57) was won by Batsaikhan virtually taking command of the Orange jersey standings.
BATTLE FOR ORANGE
But things weren’t to work out between the seven men and after Tzortzakis and Koishi were the first to be dropped, the pack led by JCL team Ukyo started chasing hard. All the escapees would finally be caught by the peloton at km 78. Despite a solo effort from Tzorzakis, in the lead from km 98 to 107, the pack reached the second intermediate sprint (km 107,4) bunched and this time Oka claimed the most points. Just after that sprint, Bonillo (EUS) and Changizi gave it a go. And while Changizi failed to keep up with his companion, Bonillo continued on his own. At km 114, the Spaniard enjoyed a 45” lead. He was later to be caught at km 120.
LECERF FIRST TO ATTACK
As the road started rising, Green jersey Tim Merlier (SOG) was one among many dropped sprinters. Meanwhile his team mate William Lecerf was the first to attack on the toughest gradients of the decisive climb. The young Belgian was then joined by Simon Yates (JAY), Rafal Majka and Finn Fisher-Black (both UAE). They reached the top with a 15” advantage over five chasers including Sobrero and Formolo. At the bonus sprint (8 kms to go) Fisher-Black captured 3 precious seconds ahead of Lecerf and Yates.
YATES WINS ON SPONSOR HOME SOIL
The front four managed to remain together all the way to the line despite the pressure of the chasers. In the final sprint Simon Yates outsprinted Lecerf and Fisher-Black to the line. The 31-year-old Brit claims his first victory this year after starting his season in Australia. Thanks to his 34th career win, Yates conquers this 2024 edition of the AlUla Tour with a very slim 3-second advantage over Lecerf (best young rider) and Fisher-Black. Thanks to his two stage successes, Tim Merlier wins the points classification while Tatsushi Oka (JCL) claims the Orange jersey for the most active rider of the event and Bora Hansgrohe finish best team.