Dylan Groenewegen (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) won today the fourth stage of the Volta ao Algarve, a 199.2-kilometer trip between Almodôvar and Tavira, where an enthusiastic crowd watched an exciting sprint that did not pinpoint the lead of Briton Geraint Thomas (Team Sky).
The approach to the arrival was chilling, with the sprinter’s teams imposing a strong rhythm, culminating in an exciting discussion between Dylan Groenewegen and Italian Matteo Pelucchi (Bora-Hansgrohe). The Dutchman, who won the first stage in Lagos, got the better of him, proving to be one of the best sprinters in the WorldTour squad at the start of the season. The third was the German John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo).
This was the longest stage of the race, disputed at high speed – an average of 43,650 km / h -, much because of the sextet that attacked with only 4 kilometres covered from Almodôvar. Benjamin King (Team Dimension Data), Rory Sutherland (UAE Team Emirates), Julen Amezqueta (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Bruno Silva (Efapel), Aleksandr Grigorev (Sporting-Tavira) and João Rodrigues (W52- FC Porto) were the attackers of the day. In the last 20 kilometres, they were joined by Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors), Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing Team) and Jasha Sutterlin (Movistar Team), who gave the initiative a new boost and forced the peloton to double work. Finally, the peloton caught the fugitives with two kilometres to go.
“It’s good to win again in the Algarve. My team-mates gave me again a good lead-out in the sprint and I managed to be the strongest. I start the year winning and hope to enjoy this form in the next races. It’s good to race in the Algarve, the weather is great, the quality of the squad is high and winning at the beginning of the season is always important for a sprinter,” said Dylan Groenewegen.
Welshman Geraint Thomas was the 22nd to cut the finish line and retained the Yellow Jersey. The Team Sky leader has a 19-second lead over team-mate Michal Kwiatkowski and 32 seconds over Portuguese Nelson Oliveira (Movistar Team).
The victory on the stage allowed Dylan Groenewegen to recover the lead in the points classification. The day in the front gave Benjamin King a boost in the leadership on the mountain climbs (Blue Jersey). The Dutchman Sam Oomen (Team Subweb) secured the white jersey (Youth classification). In the team’s classification, Team SKY secured the lead.
Team Sky’s hegemony will be put to the test in the fifth and final stage, a 173.5km on Sunday. The start is scheduled for 12:20, marking the return of the city of Faro to the itinerary of the Volta ao Algarve. The finish, around 5:00 pm (CET), coincides with the climb of the Malhão.
The route includes four more mountain prizes: Picota (3rd cat, Km 63,3), Ameixieira (3rd cat, Km 99,6), Malhão (2nd cat, Km 132,6) and Vermelhos (3rd cat., Km 153.2). São Brás de Alportel, at kilometre 16.8, and Barrosas at kilometre 127.6, receive the two sprints of the day.
Between the favourites in the general classification, the fight for the stage can also include strong climbers as Daniel Martin, Louis Meintjes or Richie Porte.
“It’s my job to take the yellow jersey to the end. Despite the various climbs of the last stage will be the final climb to Malhão that will sentence the race. I count on the support of my teammates. We are strong and confident because we have a good advantage over our opponents. Both I and Kwiatkowski have good chances and any of us can win the race. The important thing is that the yellow jersey remains is in Team Sky,” anticipates Geraint Thomas.
Algarve Granfondo Cofidis
Tavira lived a great cycling party today. Thousands of people attended the end of the Volta ao Algarve and 800 amateur cyclists participated in the Algarve Granfondo Cofidis, giving colour and movement to the city of Gilão throughout the journey, joining cycling competition and cycling for all.