The 43rd edition of the Volta ao Algarve starts tomorrow with 182.9 kilometres, between Albufeira and Lagos, predicted to end with a royal sprint.
The first stage begins at 12:30 p.m. in Albufeira (Câmara Municipal de Albufeira), taking the peloton on a quick journey to Lagos (Praça Infante D. Henrique), where the firsts riders should arrive at 5:00 p.m. It will be a sprinters stage and, looking at the start list several men profile themselves as the favourites to wear the first “camisola amarela”, the General classification leader Jersey.
André Greipel (Lotto Soudal), Arnaud Démare (FDJ), Dylan Groenewegen (Team Lotto NL-Jumbo), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Dimension Data), Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors), John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo), Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data) or Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) are the most well-known sprinters at Algarve.
But the quality of the peloton in Algarve is not only due to a royal lot of sprinters. To be a 2.HC race the Portuguese race received 12 teams from the first international division. During this week the Volta ao Algarve is the race in the world that attracts more WorldTour teams.
In the current top-100 UCI ranking, the Volta ao Algarve has 22 riders. German Tony Martin, current world TT champion his among the star riders, as European TT champion Spanish Jonathan Castroviejo and 11 national champions from around the globe.
If the fastest men are expected for the first day, those interested in succeeding Geraint Thomas as the winner of the Volta ao Algarve will have to show up in the following stages. The second stage connects Lagoa to Alto da Fóia, 189.3 kilometres and the third stage is the crucial individual time trial (18 km) in Sagres.
Riders like Daniel Martin (Quick-Step Floors), Luis León Sánchez (Astana), Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky), Primoz Roglic (Team Lotto NL-Jumbo), Sergei Chernetskii (Katusha Alpecin), Stephen Cummings (Team Dimension Data), Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) or Tony Martin will be expected to shine.
In the fourth stage, the sprinters will be called to show themselves again in the longest journey of the race, 203.4 kilometres between Almodôvar and Tavira. And the GC favourites will have to be among the first riders in the final climb of the Volta ao Algarve, in the fifth stage( 179.2 km), between Loulé and the top of Malhão.
In addition to the international stars, the Volta ao Algarve is the opportunity to see some of the best Portuguese riders in action like José Gonçalves and Tiago Machado (Team Katusha Alpecin), José Mendes (Bora-Hansgrohe), Nelson Oliveira and Nuno Bico (Movistar), Ricardo Vilela (Manzana Postobon) and Rúben Guerreiro (Trek-Segafredo). From the Portuguese national peloton, Amaro Antunes (W52-FC Porto), will try to challenge the best climbers in the two mountain stages.
Finally, the 43rd Volta ao Algarve will be broadcasted live to 55 countries every day between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. In Portugal, the race can be seen live in Eurosport 2 and TVI24. The TV coverage will be made possible thanks to the investment of Região de Turismo do Algarve e da Associação Turismo do Algarve, in partnership with Turismo de Portugal.
CLASSIFICATION & JERSEYS
General classification – Yellow Jersey Turismo do Algarve
Points classification – Red Jersey Cofidis
Mountains classification – Blue Jersey Liberty Seguros
Best young rider – White jersey Sicasal
VOLTA AO ALGARVE IN NUMBERS
25 teams, 12 from the WorldTour
22 riders from the top-100 UCI
1 TT World Champion
1 TT European Champion
11 TT and Road National Champions
Two former GC winners, Michal Kwiatkowski and Tony Martin
WorldTour: Astana (CAZ), Bora-Hansgrohe (GER), Cannondale-Drapac (EUA), Dimension Data (RSA), FDJ (FRA), Katusha-Alpecin (SUI), Lotto NL-Jumbo (NED), Lotto Soudal (BEL), Movistar (ESP), Quick-Step Floors (BEL), Team Sky (GBR), Trek-Segafredo (EUA).
Professional Continental: Caja Rural-Seguros RGA (ESP), Cofidis (FRA), Gazprom-RusVelo (RUS), Manzana Postobón (COL), Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij (NED), Wanty-Groupe Gobert (BEL)
Continental: Efapel, LA Alumínios-Metalusa, Louletano-Hospital de Loulé, RP-Boavista, Sporting-Tavira e W52-FC Porto (POR), Rally Cycling (EUA)
15 February – 1.ª Etapa: Albufeira – Lagos, 182,9 km
16 February – 2.ª Etapa: Lagoa – Fóia, 189,3 km
17 February – 3.ª Etapa: Sagres – Sagres, 18 km (C/R)
18 February – 4.ª Etapa: Almodôvar – Tavira, 203,4 km
19 February – 5.ª Etapa: Loulé – Malhão, 179,2 km