Slovenia’s Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) is the new leader of the Volta ao Algarve, after the win in the second stage, in the Fóia
The last 40 kilometres of the stage were filled with multiple attacks, but it was Pogacar’s offensive, in the last hundred metres, that decided the shot. The winner of the 2018 Tour de L’Avenir won in the face of the strong and icy wind from the highest point of the Algarve, after 187,4 km from Almodôvar.
The big favourite to win the Volta ao Algarve, Dutchman Wouter Poels (Team Sky) was the second to cross the finish line, spending 1 second more than Pogacar. The third, 3 seconds away, was Spainiard Enric Mas (Deceuninck-Quick Step). The general has the same order, with equal time differences.
The most serious movements started in the second category climb to the alto de Pomba, 40 kilometers from the end. Amaro Antunes and Riccardo Zoidl (CCC Team) isolated themselves and were two minutes ahead of the field. João Rodrigues and Raúl Alarcón (W52-FC Porto), Domingos Gonçalves (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and João Benta (Rádio Popular-Boavista) were in intermediate position.
Realizing the danger, Team Sky and Deceuninck-Quick Step imposed a strong rhythm, ending the escape of two CCC Team men 16 kilometers from the arrival. The climb to Fóia was made according to the rhythm of Tao Geogheghan Hart (Team Sky), who only dropped the lead of the group near the final kilometer.
The Algarvian Amaro Antunes returned to the load and isolated himself in the last thousand meters, but Wouter Poels responded to try to win the stage, being, however, surprised by the counterattack of Tadej Pogacar, who owned all the shirts except the red, still in possession of Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick Step).
The fight for the Yellow Jersey Turismo do Algarve is under way and Friday’s time trial, 20.3 kilometres in Lagoa, will be instrumental in better defining the GC candidates.
Wouter Poels, 1 second behind, Enric Mas, 3 seconds, Sam Oomen (Team Sunweb), 5 seconds, and David de la Cruz (Team Sky), 21 seconds, are among the contenders. However, Denmark’s Soren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb), sixth with 51 seconds to spare, could take a favourable position. Injured by the time lost in the fall of the first stage, the Portuguese João Rodrigues (W52-FC Porto), seventh, at 1m29s, and Amaro Antunes, eighth, at 1m42s, are a little further away.
Tadej Pogacar, stage winner and leader of the general classification
My teammates did an excellent job to protect me and in the final climb, I followed the attacks and in the last 100 meters, I took over the sprint and managed to win. It’s my first victory as a professional and I won it here in the Algarve. Tomorrow is the time trial and all the effort will depend on me, I’m not a super specialist but I’ll do my best and we’ll see how it goes. The team’s first strategy was for Fabio Aru, but yesterday he lost time in the crash and the team decided to give me an opportunity for the general classification. I’m doing my best as a professional cyclist and from now on I hope you will see more of me.