The Swiss Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) won today the third stage of the Algarve Tour, a 20.3 km time trial, in Lagoa. Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) reinforced the command of the general classification with the fifth place in the stage.
The fight for the stage was exciting, with the first four finishing separated by less than ten seconds. The Swiss time trial champion, Stefan Küng, was the strongest of all, concluding the demanding race in 24m33s in a technical and windy terrain.
The Danish Søren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb) confirmed the expectations that he would be in the discussion of the time trial, getting the second best time, just 2 seconds from the winner. The Belgian champion in the background, Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck-Quick Step) closed the podium of the day, with 5 seconds more than the winner. 8 seconds away from Küng was the Irish time trial champion, Ryan Müllen (Trek-Segafredo).
The Slovenian Tadej Pogačar showed consistency to be considered the most serious candidate for victory in the 45th Volta ao Algarve. He completed the time trial in 24m50s, in fifth place, gaining time from all direct competition in the fight for the Camisola Amarela Turismo do Algarve.
Tadej Pogačar remains at the top of the standings, but now with a comfortable margin of 31 seconds over Enric Mas (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and 36 seconds ahead of Søren Kragh Andersen, second and third, respectively. The battle for the podium is expected to be lively until the final stage, as there are two more men, both from Team Sky, less than a minute from the commander, Wouter Poels, 37 seconds away, and David de la Cruz, 57. Amaro Antunes (CCC Team), tenth of the overall, at 2m43s, is the best Portuguese.
The Blue Jersey Águas do Algarve, for the best climber, and the White Jersey 120 Years FPC, for the best young rider, are also worn by the Slovenian Tadej Pogačar, 20 years old. Dutchman Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick Step) is still in possession of the Red Cofidis jersey, the points.
The fourth stage of the Algarve Tour will take place this Saturday. The sprinters are expected in Tavira after the 198.3 kilometres.The start will be in Albufeira at 12h00.
Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) – Stage winner
I did this time trial on last year’s Volta ao Algarve and that gave me some advantage, as I knew the route and knew where to make the most effort. I had a somewhat conservative start, but after setting my pace, I insisted and ended up making a difference at the end. It’s the first race of the year, so it’s the first time we’ve compared ourselves to the others. It’s a time for adjustments. I’m in a new team and during the winter we worked hard to adjust all the details, so it’s very positive to win this first test.
Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) – General classification leader
I’m very satisfied. I felt confident but I didn’t expect to strengthen the lead. I did a good time trial, was well guided in my effort by my sports director and achieved an excellent result. Now I’m wearing the yellow jersey and with the support of my team we will try to protect it until the end.