First stage is also the longest

The 45th Volta ao Algarve (2.HC) starts tomorrow in Portimão. The first day is also the longest with 199.1 kilometres between Portimão and Lagos where a “royal” sprint between the fastest of the 168 riders is expected
Everything is ready for the 45th Volta ao Algarve. The Team’s Director Meeting  took place in the auditorium of the Portimão Museum and served to confirm the start list of the “Algarvia”, once again, with some of the best riders of the UCI World Tour ranking for the enjoyment of the Portuguese fans and abroad with the expected tv coverage for more than 120 countries.
With two stages for sprinters, in Lagos and Tavira,  two summit arrivals, in Fóia and Malhão, and an individual time trial in Lagoa, the battle for the Camisola Amarela Tourism of the Algarve will award, in the last day, as a tradition, an expected runner up of one week stage races and Grand Tour races as former winners like Richie Porte (2012), Geraint Thomas (2015 and 2016), Primoz Roglic (2017) and Michal Kwiatkowski (2014 and 2018).
The Italian Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates), winner of Vuelta in 2015, the year he was second in the Giro, is one the riders to watch in Algarve. In 2019 he wants to resume the leading role he did not have last season. It will be his second race of the year after Mallorca.
After the second place in the 2018 Vuelta España, the Spaniard Enric Mas (Deceuninck-Quick Step)  returns to the Algarve in his first race of the season. He’s expected to fight for top positions.
Austrian Patrick Konrad (Bora-hansgrohe) and Dutchman Sam Oomen (Team Sunweb), seventh and ninth of the 2018 Giro D’Italia, will also have the opportunity to be the among the best in the general classification.
Team Sky, the winner of three of the last four editions, presents itself with a strong block for the “Camisola amarela” fight: the Dutchman Wout Poels, the Spaniard David de la Cruz and the British Tao Geoghegan Hart give several tactical options.
Team Katusha Alpecin also has a trio for the general classification with the Portuguese José Gonçalves and Rúben Guerreiro, as well as Slovenian Simon Spilak. The Portuguese Amaro Antunes (CCC Team) is racing in his home region and will want to confirm the status achieved with the victory in Malhão in 2017. Russian Sergei Chernetskii (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), with a previous top 10 in the Algarve, may also get some highlight in Algarve. In the Portuguese peloton Tiago Machado (Sporting-Tavira),  in his 15th participation, is set to aim high, in addition to the W52-FC Porto team, Portugal single Pro Continental Team.
Sprinters awaited in Lagos
The Volta ao Algarve 2019 starts with 199.1 kilometres between Portimão (12h00, local time) and Lagos (17h00). And the sprinters are awaited at the end of the longest stage of the race.
The Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen (Team Jumbo-Visma), winner in Lagos last year, stands out and already win this year. But the competition among the sprinters is strong as usual: Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ), Christophe Laporte (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits), Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Dimension Data), Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates), John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo), Matteo Malucelli (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe) and Timothy Dupont (Wanty-Gobert Cycling Team) are among the  fastest men in Algarve.
Bora-hansgrohe, CCC Team, Deceuninck-Quick Step, Groupama-FDJ, Lotto Soudal, Team Dimension Data, Team Jumbo-Visma, Team Katusha Alpecin, Team Sky, Team Sunweb, Trek-Segafredo e UAE Team Emirates.
Pro Continental
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, Cofidis, W52-FC Porto e Wanty-Gobert Cycling Team
Aviludo-Louletano, Efapel, LA Alumínios-LA Sport, Miranda-Mortágua, Rádio Popular-Boavista, Sporting-Tavira, UD Oliveirense-InOutBuild e Vito-Feirense-PNB.
Stages / Etapas
20 de Fevereiro – 1.ª Etapa: Portimão – Lagos, 199,1 km
21 de Fevereiro – 2.ª Etapa: Almodôvar – Fóia, 187,4 km
22 de Fevereiro – 3.ª Etapa: Lagoa – Lagoa, 20,3 km (CRI)
23 de Fevereiro – 4.ª Etapa: Albufeira – Tavira, 198,3 km
24 de Fevereiro – 5.ª Etapa: Faro – Malhão, 173,5 km
Last winners / Últimos Vencedores da Volta ao Algarve
2018 – Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky)
2017 – Primoz Roglic (Team Lotto NL-Jumbo)
2016 – Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)
2015 – Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)
2014 – Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep)
2013 – Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep)
2012 – Richie Porte (Sky)
2011 – Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad)
2010 – Alberto Contador (Astana)
2009 – Alberto Contador (Astana)