photo credit @ Volta Algarve
excerpts from Volta ao Algarve
The Team Sky dominated the fourth stage of the Tour of the Algarve, which today took the peloton from Tavira to the top of Malhão over a strenuous 218.3 kilometers. The Australian Richie Porte won the stage, while the British Geraint Thomas retained the Yellow Jersey Liberty Seguros.
The Etixx-QuickStep team tried all to counter the favoritism of the Sky men, casting Tony Martin and Zdenek Stybar in successive attacks. But the British fleet had more arguments to answer and maintained the tradition in the mythical climb of the municipality of Loulé. In four editions of the British team appearance here in Algarve Sky won four times in the top of Malhão: Richie Porte, in 2012 and in 2015, Sergio Henao in 2013, and Stephen Cummings in 2011.
Richie Porte took 5h55m34s to finish the 218.3 kilometers of the stage on Saturday, and left the world champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep) three seconds behind. Spanish champion, Ion Izaguirre (Movistar) finished third and were the first to be “vitoriados” by the thousands of spectators who had gathered on the final climb.
“This time I was not expected to win. The Etixx wore us a lot and I was booked to ride strong in the last 10 kilometers before the climb. It is good to reward Thomas with the yellow jersey because he, in recent years, done a lot for me and my career. 300 meters from the goal he told me to attack and everything went well. Days like this are rare in cycling. It was perfect. It is an excellent start for the season and strengthens the morale of the Team”, said the Australian, winner of the Tour of the Algarve in 2012.
Geraint Thomas, always well acolyted by Porte, bore the offensive of opponents, and was fourth across the line. Remaining in yellow he now controls the overall with 27 seconds ahead of Kwiatkowski.
“The stage took six hours up and down. It was a hard day, but I’m happy, especially for having kept the yellow jersey and Richie [Porte] have won the stage. Let’s keep the jersey until the end because tomorrow will be a sprint finish and there should be no problems. We’ll see how it goes the Paris-Nice, but Richie is the bet and I will be a backup plan. I think we will be in the best condition we can, but it will be number one”, “Thomas secured.
The Portuguese Tiago Machado (Katusha), sixth in stage, fulfilled the purpose for which he entered in this Volta ao Algarve: the podium.
“I would like to have discussed the stage but men Sky controlled and were stronger. I tried to make the best and the podium is a goal achieved. We knew the quality of our opponents but when I walk from the bed, everyday, i want to win. I think that after so many years discussing the Volta ao Algarve I deserved to win this race”, said Tiago Machado.
In secondary classifications, Richie Porte took the mountain leadership, Geraint Thomas is the first in points classification, Tiago Machado follows as best Portuguese and Italian Davide Formolo (Cannondale-Garmin) took the youth leadership. The Russian Katusha, led by Portuguese José Azevedo, is now ahead in the teams overall.
The 41st Volta ao Algarve ends this Sunday with a 184.9 kilometer stage between Almodovar (10:30) and Vilamoura (14h42).
1.º Richie Porte (Sky), 5h55m34s
2.º Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep), a 3s
3.º Ion Izaguirre (Movistar), a 6s
4.º Geraint Thomas (Sky), a 9s
5.º Michael Woods (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies), a 13s
6.º Tiago Machado (Katusha), mt
7.º Davide Formolo (Cannondale-Garmin), a 16s
8.º Alberto Losada (Katusha), a 21s
9.º Luis León Sánchez (Astana), a 25s
10.º José Mendes (Bora-Argon 18), a 31s
1.º Geraint Thomas (Sky), 15h30m33s
2.º Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep), a 27s
3.º Tiago Machado (Katusha), a 1m11s
4.º Richie Porte (Sky), a 1m14s
5.º Luis León Sánchez (Astana), a 1m18s
6.º Rein Taaramae (Astana), a 1m19s
7.º Sergei Chernetski (Katusha), a 1m32s
8.º Alberto Losada (Katusha), a 1m55s
9.º Rubén Fernández (Movistar), a 2m04s
10.º Ion Izaguirre (Movistar), a 2m21s
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