Daniel Martínez overcomes Remco in Fóia and takes the lead

Volta ao Algarve was once again synonymous of happiness for Daniel Martínez (BORA-hansgrohe). In the second stage, the winner of the last edition triumphed over Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) at the top of Foia and took the overall lead.

“I am very happy, we wanted to win the stage here and with me and with Sergio we did quite well in the end. Remco started his sprint, and I was waiting for him. When he left, I knew we had a headwind and that i had to enter the curve first. I went all out on the last curve and knew that it would be difficult for him to pass me. I know there are very good time trialists, like Remco or Van Aert, but I will try as well”, explained Daniel Martínez at the end of the stage.

The 171.9-kilometer stage had an exciting finish at Alto da Fóia, in Monchique, but also a lively start in Lagoa. The first breakaway emerged early on, with an attack by five riders – Max Walker (Astana Qazaqstan Team), Martin Urianstad Bugge (Uno-X Mobility), Pedro Silva (ABTF Betão – Feirense), Aleksandr Grigorev (Efapel Cycling) and César Martingil (Tavfer-Ovos-Matinados-Mortágua) – who were joined shortly after by Rúben Simão (AP Hotels & Resorts-Tavira-SC Farense), Oliver Rees (Sabgal-Anicolor) and Gonçalo Amado (Tavfer-Ovos Matinados-Mortágua).

The fugitives continued to increase their lead, which reached more than five minutes with around 87 kilometers to go. At 70 kilometers from the finish line, and after Gonçalo Amado had left the group and the race, Andreas Leknessund and Jonas Ambrahamsen, both from Uno-X Mobility, broke away from the peloton and reached the front of the race, in an excellent move by the Norwegian team, which added three cyclists and started to impose the pace.

As the kilometers rolled by, it got tougher and tougher and the group got smaller and smaller, until Andreas Leknessund took the opportunity to attack and isolate himself at the front of the race with around 16 kilometers to go. The Uno-X Mobility rider had a lead of more than a minute, but was also caught, 6 kilometers from the finish line and shortly after having won the Meta Volante Crédito Agrícola.

From then on, James Knox (Soudal Quick-Step) set the pace on uphill, in a group of just 12 riders at the start of the last kilometer. Then came a spectacular finish, highlighted by a lot of wind and emotion, in which Daniel Martínez overtook second-placed Remco Evenepoel to win the stage in 4h40m20s. Sepp Kuss (Team Jumbo-Visma) was third, six seconds behind.

Daniel Martínez took over the Turismo do Algarve yellow jersey with a time of 9:32:14, six seconds ahead of Remco Evenpoel and 12 ahead of Sepp Kuss, second and third respectively. The Colombian is now also the owner of the Água é Vida mountain jersey. Gerben Thijssen (Intermarché-Wanty) lost his yellow jersey, but kept the Crédito Agrícola Green points jersey, and Portuguese rider António Morgado became the new youth leader, taking over the IPDJ White Jersey. Among the teams, BORA – hansgrohe is the new leader.

The 50th Volta ao Algarve continues this Friday with the third stage, a 192.2-kilometer journey between Vila Real de Santo António and Tavira. The start is scheduled for 11:55 am and the finish is expected at 4:35 pm.