Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) is the winner of the 44th Tour of the Algarve thanks to a perfect tactical move by the team that even gave the Polish rider the victory in the fifth and final stage, which today called Faro to the top of Malhão, Loulé, along 173,5 kilometres.
The decision of the Volta ao Algarve began to draw at kilometre 15 of the stage when a group of 31 riders left the peloton. In this group was Michal Kwiatkowski, who was in the second position of the general classification, 19 seconds behind of the teammate Geraint Thomas.
Despite the presence of the Polish rider, the group won almost 5 minutes of advantage over the peloton. The teams with aspirations to the podium were left to go in the decoy of Sky, causing that the tactical movement of the British formation was crowned of success.
It remained to the other elements of the front group to try the stage victory. The most combative was Lukas Postlberger (Bora-hansgrohe), who attacked alone before the first pass in Malhão and was joined by Czech champion Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors). It was the man from the Czech Republic who most approached the possibility of counteracting the power of Sky, entering isolated in the final ascent of 3 kilometres.
Nevertheless, Michal Kwiatkowski took advantage of the first ramps of the iconic rise to meet Stybar, passing by the Czech and cutting the goal in solitary. In a climb of great quality and courage, the Portuguese champion, one of the 31 fugitives of the day, passed by the opponents, being the second classified in the stage, 4 seconds down on Michal Kwiatkowski. The third, at 8 seconds, was the Belgian Serge Pauwels (Team Dimension Data).
Sky’s tactic, taking Michal Kwiatkowski to the Yellow jersey Algarve, left the competition for the second and third positions of the general classification. Geraint Thomas was second, at 1’31 “, while the American Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team) closed the podium, 2m16s of the first. Nelson Oliveira (Movistar Team) gave up in the final stage, dropping from third to the tenth overall position, 2m54s from the winner, being nevertheless the best portuguese in the final classification.
“It was a very fast stage and with a totally unexpected end. We went on the break without really knowing if we would succeed. We tactically made the perfect race. I counted with the help of the Golas in the front and in the final ascent to Malhão I made my move. It is an important victory and that on the eve of the great classics gives me confidence about the current state of my physical condition. The important thing today was to win the Tour of the Algarve and we succeeded. It was a victory for the team” said the Pole.
In addition to the individual classification, Team Sky won the collective standings and the Cofidis Red Sweater, which also remained in the body of Michal Kwiatkowski. American Benjamin King (Team Dimension Data) retained the Liberty Seguros Blue Jerseys, a symbol of the mountain king, and Dutchman Sam Oomen wore the Aguas do Algarve White Jersey from the very first day to the last day.
5.ª Etapa/Stage 5: Faro – Alto do Malhão, Loulé, 173,5 km
1.º Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky), 4h18m02s (40,344 km/h)
2.º Rúben Guerreiro (Trek-Segafredo), a 4s
3.º Serge Pauwels (Team Dimension Data), a 8s
4.º Stefan Küng (BMC Racing Team), a 13s
5.º Cesare Benedetti (Bora-hansgrohe), a 15s
6.º Dion Smith (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), a 17s
7.º Simon Geschke (Team Sunweb), mt
8.º Julen Amezqueta (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), a 23s
9.º Ben Swift (UAE Team Emirates), a 29s
10.º Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), a 35s
Geral Individual/General Classification
1.º Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky), 18h54m11s
2.º Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), a 1m31s
3.º Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team), a 2m16s
4.º Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), a 2m22s
5.º Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors), a 2m33s
6.º Jaime Rosón (Movistar Team), a 2m49s
7.º Maximilian Schachmann (Quick-Step Floors), a 2m50s
8.º Serge Pauwels (Team Dimension Data), a 2m50s
9.º Felix Grosschartner (Bora-hansgrohe), a 2m51s
10.º Nelson Oliveira (Movistar Team), a 2m54s