Michal Kwiatkowski produced a stunning performance on stage three’s individual time trial to claim his second consecutive win of this year’s Volta ao Algarve and extend his overall lead.
The 23-year-old Omega Pharma – Quick-Step rider had given notice of his excellent early-season form by soloing to victory on stage two, but made an even bigger impression 24 hours later with a result that underlines his status as one of cycling’s most prodigious young talents.
On a largely flat 13.6 kilometer course from Vila do Bispo to Sagres, Kwiatkowski defeated runner-up Adriano Malori by 11 seconds and, most significantly, his third-placed team-mate and three-time world time trial champion Tony Martin by 13 seconds.
Alberto Contador was 20 seconds slower than the Polish rider in fourth, while Alex Dowsett (Movistar), the British time trial champion, was 25 seconds back in fifth.
The result means Kwiatkowski stretches his lead of the general classification from four seconds to 32, with Contador jumping into second place ahead of Rui Costa, who falls to third, 38 seconds back.
Kwiatkowski will now look to defend the leader’s jersey on Saturday’s summit finish on Alto do Malhao and then Sunday’s race-ending sprint stage into Vilamoura.
Britain’s Mark Cavendish was 22nd fastest on the stage, 44 seconds slower than his team-mate.
Kwiatkowski had these things to say following today’s race.
"That was actually the first TT of the year. I thought I’d gone off a bit too fast when I got the mid-point," Kwiatkowski said at the finish. "The end was very technical and that bit was all about good cornering and then speeding up out of the corners. I had Tony’s intermediate times, which helped me a lot. I’m really happy with that effort.
"You never really know how things are going to go in the first TT of the year. After seeing the course this morning, I can’t really believe that I’ve ridden it so well. I’m quite good in TTs but not usually in such a high-speed TT. I think that’s the fastest TT I’ve ever done."
Stage three result
1 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, 14:03 2 Adriano Malori (Ita) Movistar, +11secs 3 Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, +13 4 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo, +20 5 Alex Dowsett (GB) Movistar, +25 6 Jan Barta (Cze) NetApp-Endura, +28 7 Rick Flens (Ned) Belkin, +29 8 Thomas de Gednt (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, +30 9 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin, same time 10 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ, +33 Selected other 22 Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, +44
1 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, 9:03:36 2 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo, +32secs 3 Rui Costa (Por) Movistar, +38 4 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ, +1:00 5 Sergei Chernetskiy (Rus) Katusha, +1:03 6 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin, +1:08 7 Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, +1:20 8 Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha, +1:23 9 Chris Horner (USA) Lampre-Merida, +1:24 10 Eduard Prades (Spa) OFM-Quinta da Lixa, +1:25
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