Saudi Tour 2023: Jonathan Milan snatches stage two victory in a tight final sprint

Milan was able to hold off a rampaging Dylan Groenewegen to grab the win for Bahrain Victorious

Jonathan Milan
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious) snatched victory on stage two of the Saudi Tour 2023  from the arms of Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco AIUla) in a narrow sprint finish.

The win looked to be going the way of Groenewegen once more, but a violent late acceleration from Milan and Cees Bol (Astana Qazaqstan) caught Jayco AIUla and their Dutch sprinter unawares.

As Milan powered towards the line, Groenewegen was able to come around Bol and looked like he might catch the Bahrain Victorious rider. However, Milan had just enough to hold out for the win narrowly beating the rampaging Dutchman on the line.

Groenewegen will continue to wear the leader's jersey on tomorrow's stage three, with Milan trailing at six seconds. Cofidis's Max Walscheid is in third, 12 seconds off the lead. 


After a windy start to the Saudi Tour on the opening day won by Dylan Groenewegen, wind was likely to play a part once more across stage two, the longest stage of the race, 184 kilometres across undulating terrain between Winter Park and the Shalal Sijlyat Rocks.

The arrow straight roads across the desert instantly began to string the main field out, and with 56 kilometres left to race, Uno-X were dominating the front of the peloton looking to protect the most active rider from day one, Marcus Sander Hansen.

As the kilometres flew by, the peloton was locked together as riders looked to shelter from the wind which was whipping sand across the road. At 34 kilometres left to go, Bingoal WB and Human Powered Health were jostling for position at the front of the bunch. Cofidis were also present potentially with an eye to the finish and setting up their man Max Walscheid.

When the race ticked under 30 kilometres to go, a sudden change in pace in the peloton saw several riders jettisoned from the back of the main field including Sander Hansen and Peio Goiogana of Euskaltel-Euskadi who was also very active on the opening stage. Crosswinds were causing major problems across the course and a favourite for overall victory, Santiago Buitrago of Bahrain Victorious, was also a rider to be distanced.

Walscheid was first across the intermediate sprint point which was uncontested by the bunch. As the peloton flew towards the finish Bahrain Victorious were in big trouble with their key sprinter Dusan Rajovic forced to help Buitrago bridge back to the main field. Uno-X and DSM were really piling on the pressure at the head of the race which was causing chaos further back down the road.

With 8 kilometres to go, Mathias Norsgaard (Movistar) accelerated at the front of the peloton and soon built himself a gap of more than ten seconds. Meanwhile, sterling work from Bahrain Victorious ensured that Buitrago was safely brought back into the peloton, although Rajovic was unable to join him. Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates) who struggled on the opening day was also out the back once more.

Norsgaard was caught with two kilometres left to race and the peloton got set for another sprint finish.

Jayco AIUla, Bahrain Victorious, Astana Qazaqstan and Uno-X were frantically battling for control ready to start the lead out for their fast men. In the end, a violent acceleration from Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious) and Cees Bol (Astana Qazaqstan) caught out Groenewegen and Jayco AIUla with Milan edging out Groenwegen for the win. 


1. Jonathan Milan (ITA) Bahrain Victorious, in 04-53-35
2. Dylan Groenewegen (NED) Jayco AIUla, at same time
3. Cees Bol (NED) Astana Qazaqstan,
4. Erlend Blikra (NOR) Uno-X,
5. Max Kanter (GER) Movistar,
6. Max Walscheid (GER) Cofidis,
7. Ryan Gibbons (RSA) UAE Team Emirates, all at same time
8. Luka Mezgec (SLO) Jayco AIUla,
9. Simone Consonni (ITA) Cofidis,
10. Szymon Sajnok (POL) Q36.5, all at 3 seconds


1. Dylan Groenewegen (NED) Jayco AIUla, in 04-08-09
2. Jonathan Milan (ITA) Bahrain Victorious, +6
3. Max Walscheid, Cofidis +12
4. Cees Bol (NED) Astana Qazaqstan, at same time
5. Max Kanter (GER) Movistar, +16
6. Ryan Gibbons (RSA) UAE Team Emirates, same time
7. Erlend Blikra (NOR) Uno-X, same time
8. Luka Mezgec (SLO) Jayco AIUla, +19
9. Pier Cote (CAN) Human Powered Health, same time
10. Simone Consonni (ITA) Cofidis, same time

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Tom Thewlis

Tom is a News and Features Writer at Cycling Weekly, and previously worked in communications at Oxford Brookes University. He has reported from a wide range of races and events including the Tour de France and World Championships.