From Portimão to Malhão with a new time trial on the way

The 50th edition of the Volta ao Algarve, on the road from 14 to 18 February 2024, will start in Portimão, with the winners crowned at the top of Malhão, Loulé. There’s a completely new time trial in Albufeira on the way.

The only Portuguese stage race on the UCI ProSeries circuit will cover 752.9 kilometres and have an elevation gain of 14455 metres, spread over five stages. There will be bonifications at the finish and a 6-second bonus for the winner of the intermediate sprint of each stage.

The longest stage of the competition is the first, 200.8 kilometres linking Portimão to Lagos, a day that is expected to be a highlight for the sprinters.

The fight for the overall classification has an important day in the second stage, 171.9 kilometres, between Lagoa and the top of Fóia, Monchique. The finish line, at the highest point in the Algarve, will be preceded by three other mountain passes.Two of them will be chained together, in order to harden and select the race before the final climb. These are the climbs of Alferce (3rd category) and Pomba (2nd category), this one just 6300 metres from the start of the climb to the finish line.

On the third day, there’s another chance for the fast men, at the end of the 192.2 kilometres between Vila Real de Santo António and Tavira. In an approach to the finish line similar to this one, the fight for the added bonus at the Vila Real de Santo António intermediate sprint messed up the sprinters’ accounts in the 2023 edition of the race. We’ll see if the same intermediate point has any impact on the definition of the stage in 2024.

The fourth stage is the big innovation of the competition, a 22.2-kilometre individual time trial between the Albufeira Marina and the Albufeira Town Hall. The route has the ups and downs that are characteristic of the Volta ao Algarve time trials, giving the purest specialists a chance without completely shutting out the complete cyclists who adapt to the individual effort.

The overall accounts will only be settled on the fifth and final 165.8 kilometre stage between Faro and Alto do Malhão.The finish coincides with a second category mountain prize. At 24 kilometres from the finish line, the peloton will make the first ascent to Malhão, after having passed the mountain passes of Vermelhos (km 99) and Alte (km 128.3).

In a peloton that will be finalised in the coming weeks, thirteen teams have already been confirmed: Ten WorldTeams: Alpecin-Deceuninck (Belgium), Arkea-B&B Hotels (France), Astana Qazaqstan Team (Kazakhstan), BORA-hansgrohe (Germany), EF Education-EasyPost (USA), Groupama-FDJ (France), Lidl-Trek (USA), Soudal Quick-Step (Belgium), Team dsm-firmenich PostNL (Netherlands) and UAE Team Emirates (United Arab Emirates).And three ProTeams: Caja Rural-Seguros RGA (Spain), Tudor Pro Cycling (Switzerland) and Uno-X Mobility (Norway).

Meanwhile, registration has already opened for the Algarve Granfondo, the mass event of the Volta ao Algarve, which allows amateur cyclists to ride on the same stage as the world’s biggest stars. The Algarve Granfondo takes place in Albufeira on 17 February. Registration