Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!
Already a subscriber? Log In
The Saudi Tour marked a new chapter in the arguably aging career of Mark Cavendish. The latter part of Cavendish’s recently concluded tenure at Dimension Data was marred by crashes and illness, with few triumphs in between. Well, few triumphs when one considers the impossibly high bar that the 30 time Tour de France stage winner has set for himself.
In the livery of his new Bahrain McLaren team, Cavendish left Saudi Arabia with reason again to celebrate. While many fans and riders alike watched Cavendish expecting the sprinter to contest the bunch finishes, Cavendish slotted into a new role in the Middle East.
Cavendish fooled the sprinters by letting go of Phil Bauhaus’ wheel during the finale of stage 3, allowing his young German teammate to ride clear to victory, while the competition fought for the Manx Missile’s decelerating wheel.
This set the tone for the dynamic on Bahrain McLaren for the remainder of the tour. Cavendish rode as a selfless member of the team which fought all week to give Bauhaus the biggest win of his young career.
Nobody knows if Cavendish will continue to be a fixture on the top step of podiums, but that fact seems inconsequential at the moment because within one week, he has proved himself to be a brilliant team captain at Bahrain McLaren.'
The Rise Of Bauhaus
Aided in no small part by Mark Cavendish, The Saudi Tour saw the rise of Phil Bauhaus. Bauhaus, the 25 year old German already had quality results under his belt, such as his 2017 stage victory at Critérium du Dauphiné, however his performance last week is indicative of a coming of age.
The Saudi Tour is Bauhaus’ first GC victory, and the way in which he won not only shows his sprinting chops, but his ability to cope with pressure as a team leader. Bauhaus was in a tight battle for the win with former world champion Rui Costa and Nacer Bouhanni.
After losing the jersey on stage 4, Bauhaus had to win the final stage to claim overall victory. Backed by his teammates, Bauhaus rose to the occasion and edged out Bouhani to take the stage and with it the GC.