Simon Yates has given sponsor AlUla a prestigious victory in the AlUla Tour. William Junior Lecerf, neo-pro at Soudal-Quick Step, rode a strong stage, but ultimately had to bow to Yates in a sprint with four of us. The Briton is also the overall winner of the Saudi stage race, ahead of Lecerf.
The first four days of the AlUla Tour were mainly for the fast men, but the final stage to the Harrat Uwayrid viewpoint was a different story.
Sections of 17% and an average of 12.5%: these were the ingredients for the final climb.
Simon Yates ensured that only the best climbers remained with a first gear. William Junior Lecerf responded to that attack not much later with his own escape attempt.
Although Lecerf was blown back, his action ensured that he was able to join Yates and UAE teammates Finn Fisher-Black and Rafal Majka when they started over the top on the plateau to the finish.
This gave us a sprint for the day and the overall victory, because Yates, Lecerf and Fisher-Black were still eligible for this. Lecerf chose to hold the tightrope, to Yates’ right. He came close, but not close enough.
After Maxim Van Gils, just shy of a second Belgian overall victory in the Saudi stage race in 2022, but in only his first stage race as a full-fledged professional, the 21-year-old Lecerf has given his calling card.