Volta ao Algarve: First Summit Finish Shakes Up General Classification15. February 2018, Fia (POR) — Road Team
The first summit finish of the Volta ao Algarve was a test of the legs for the General Classification contenders who fought it out on the 15.2km climb to Fóia.
Seven riders made the day’s breakaway after 12km of racing and quickly extended their advantage out to 7’30” until Jürgen Roelandts took control of the peloton after 40km and worked hard to bring the gap down.
Roelandts consistently brought the advantage down and at the base of the Marmelete climb, Loïc Vliegen took over and injected another increase in speed which saw the gap drop under 4’ with 110km to go.
From there, the peloton maintained the advantage and in the last third of the race, continued to bring the breakaway back.
With 35km to go, the gap was hovering under three minutes and all of BMC Racing Team’s riders were sitting in the first 15 spots in the peloton in anticipation of the final climb.
The breakaway split up on the early slopes but the leading riders’ advantage wasn’t enough to hold off the peloton and the catch was made with 9km to go.
Attacks soon came from the reduced bunch as they reached the steeper slopes in the final 7km, where Richie Porte and Tejay van Garderen were sitting comfortably, but all attacks were neutralized by the final few kilometers.
Van Garderen put the pressure on in the final 2km and a small group went under the flamme rouge together.
It was Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) who had the speed to take the win and behind, Porte crossed the line in 10th place, three seconds behind, and van Garderen finished in 15th place, six seconds behind.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“I didn’t feel all that good coming into it but I was happy to be top ten, or tenth. We will see how the time trial goes tomorrow but I think going forward it gives me a little bit of confidence because I came here with no real goals but I was still able to be up there with the stronger guys today when they really went for it. It was a long climb but not terribly hard. Our guys did the lion’s share of the work. I think all of the guys were really good especially in the final Tejay went in some moves so it’s good signs for this season. I think the time trial is pretty suited to me. We looked at it the other day so time will tell.”
Tejay van Garderen:
“The sensations were good. This is a weird climb because it’s long and it’s hard but it’s not super steep. It’s pretty tactical with guys moving, guys stopping and looking around. So we knew it was going to be tricky to know how to play it but I think Richie and I are looking strong and that’s a good take away point from today. I’m definitely looking forward to the time trial. Hopefully it will be a good one.”
Volta ao Algarve
Stage 2 Sagres > Fóia (187.9km)
Top 3: 1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky), 2. Bauke Mollema (Trek Segafredo), 3. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky).
BMC Racing Team top 3: 10. Richie Porte, 15. Tejay van Garderen, 67. Dylan Teuns.
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.