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Ruben Guerreiro survives gravel roads to win Saudi Tour

By Patrick Fletcher,

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The 2023 Saudi Tour podium (Image credit: Getty Images)
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The final stage of the Saudi Tour included a gravel sector (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Ruben Guerreiro in the Saudi Tour's green leader's jersey (Image credit: Getty Images)
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The final stage of the Saudi Tour started in Alula (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Ruben Guerreiro was protected by his Movistar team at the Saudi Tour (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Mathias Norsgaard (Movistar) (Image credit: Getty Images)
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The Saudi Tour raced across the desert (Image credit: Getty Images)
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The Saudi Tour peloton fight for position (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Jonathan Milan leads the Saudi Tour peloton on the gravel (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Saudi Tour (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Simone Consonni won the final stage of the Saudi Tour (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Simone Consonni (Cofidis) (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Ruben Guerreiro won the 2023 Saudi Tour (Image credit: Getty Images)

Ruben Guerreiro (Movistar) wrapped up the overall title at the Saudi Tour , as Simone Consonni ( Cofidis) won the final stage after overhauling Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco-AlUla) on a long and rising sprint finish in Maraya.

Groenewegen bumped shoulders with a couple of Jonathan Milan's Bahrain Victorious teammates as the final kilometre became chaotic, forcing him to make an effort in the wind. Despite ending up with a lead-out from Luka Mezgec, he then hit out with 300 metres to go on a slight incline. The Dutch sprinter powered out front but soon faded, with Consonni moving briefly into his slipstream and out into the lead as Groenewegen dropped like a stone.

Matteo Malucelli (Bingoal-WB) came up with a powerful sprint to take second place just behind Consonni, with Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates) piping Groenewegen for the final podium spot.

"I started at 300 metres and it felt like three kilometres. In the last 50 metres I was thinking about the team pursuit and I was wanting to push until the end. This win is really important for me and the team," Consonni said after celebrating with his Cofidis teammates.

Stage 4 winner Ruben Guerreiro (Movistar) sewed up the overall title - his first stage race success - after safely finishing in the peloton on a day that presented the danger of a long gravel sector in the final 30km.

"I'm really happy. It was kind of an easy day, the wind gave us the chance to relax,” Guerreiro explained.

“The gravel was nice, some attacks for entertainment, and some emotion to the end. The final kilometre was tricky and technical but we managed to be up front and safe."

The same gravel section caused crashes and a number of safety-related complaints last year but this time appeared to pass without any major incident, despite tension in the bunch and a high racing speed.

From there, it was a fairly calm run-in, although the peloton left it late to catch the day's breakaway, with last survivor Kamil Malecki (Q36.5) hanging on until the final two kilometres.

Uno-X were prominent at first but then fell away, while Team DSM and Human Powered Health also had spells on the front that came to nothing.

Jayco-AlUla had strong numbers and came out on top in the jostle for position against Bahrain Victorious but Groenewegen went too early, with the gradient against him anyway, leaving Consonni - more accustomed to lead-out duties as well as track cycling - to collect the third victory of his career.

Guerreiro crossed the line in 16th place before his trip to the podium, with no changes at the top of the general classification to leave Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates) and Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) on the lower steps at eight and nine seconds respectively.

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