Riyadh, Feb 5, 2020 (AFP) -A late break from the peloton by Niccolo Bonifazio lit up the final kilometre of stage 2 of the Saudi Tour on Wednesday as the Italian held on for victory just two seconds ahead of the fast closing pack.
In perfect racing conditions Total-Direct Energie rider Bonifazio won in 4hrs 32mins and 31sec with his early sprint, and was quickly followed across the line by German Phil Bauhaus of the Bahrain-McLaren team, Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni of Arkea-Samsic and a host of others.
Stage 1 winner Rui Costa maintains a wafer thin lead after the 187km run from Sadus Castle to the outskirts of Riyadh, just one second ahead of Heinrich Haussler, with Bouhanni a further second back in third.
Bonifazio is down in 91st place, over eight minutes behind after crashing during the first stage.
Thursday's shorter but hilly 119km run from King Saud University to Al Bujairi will potentially shake up the standings with a further hilly stage before Saturday's flat final stage run around Riyahd.
1. Niccolo Bonifazio (ITA/TDE) 4hrs 32min 31sec
2. Phil Bauhaus (GER/BAH) at 02sec
3. Nacer Bouhanni (FRA/ARK) same time.
4. Timothy Dupont (BEL/CIW) s.t.
5. Jens Debusschere (BEL/B&B) s.t.
1. Rui Costa (POR/UAE) 8hrs 24min 35sec
2. Heinrich Haussler (AUS/BAH) at 1sec
3. Nacer Bouhanni (FRA/ARK) 2sec
4. Phil Bauhaus (GER/BAH) 4sec
5. Andreas Lorentz Kron (DEN/Riwal Readynez Cycling Team) at 9sec