Volta ao Algarve S5: Dani Martinez claims overall, Stefan Küng takes final TT

Follow all the action in the five-stage race across southern Portugal.

Photo: Tim de Waele / Getty Images

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Dani Martinez (Ineos Grenadiers) rode away with the overall title at the Volta ao Algarve after a strong performance in the final TT that saw him jump from seventh to first in the GC standings.

Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) dominated the stage to take the win with Remi Cavagna (Soudal Quick-Step) finishing second.

Starting the day just 20 seconds off the race lead, Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) was the favorite to take the GC win in the TT. He put in a strong effort to finish third on the day, but it wasn’t enough to keep him at the top of the overall standings with Martinez holding his teammate to just six seconds and taking the title by two seconds ahead of Ganna.

Overnight leader Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) battled hard to limit his losses in the TT and had a small scare when he went off-road on a corner. His cyclocross skills paid dividends as he stayed upright and was able to continue.

He would ultimately slip down to seventh overall with Ilan Van Wilder (Soudal Quick-Step) holding on for third in the GC.

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S4: Tom Pidcock takes control on Malhão hilltop

Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) rocketed to stage 4 victory in the Algarve on Saturday and took control of the GC ahead of the final day of racing.

The young Brit outkicked João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) and Ilan van Wilder (Soudal Quick-Step) on the final climb of the leg-snapper Alto do Malhão hilltop.

Pidcock now carries a five-second advantage over Van Wilder into the final stage TT on Sunday, a flat 24km test around Lagoa.

“As a team, we messed up two stages that we could have won,” Pidcock said at the finish.

“Yesterday [Friday – ed], with Filippo Ganna, I think he could have won the stage. And on the second stage, we did a brilliant job and then in the last kilometer, we kind of messed it up. Today we made sure we got it right.”

After two previous misfires, Ineos Grenadiers could now be in range of the GC victory with either Pidcock or TT powerhouse Ganna, who is just 31 seconds down on the top step.

Overnight yellow jersey Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost) couldn’t hold the climbing pace on the Malhão and finished 16th on the stage Saturday. The Dane is still within range of overall victory however, at just 27 seconds back on Pidcock.

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S3: Magnus Cort sprints to another win in Portugal

magnus cort
Cort doubles up at Volta ao algarve stage 3. (Photo: EF Education-EasyPost)

After finding himself out front in a small group, a “split-second decision” by EF Education EasyPost led Magnus Cort to another sprint win at the Volta ao Algarve.

The Dane finished ahead of Filippo Ganna (Ineo Grenadiers) and Jordi Meeus (Bora-Hansgrohe) to increase his overall lead in the Portuguese stage race.

With 450 meters to go, it looked like it was all over for Cort. After winning Thursday’s stage at the top of the Alto da Fóia, Cort had gone for the bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint on Friday and found himself in front with a powerful group. They made the split-second decision to drive it to the line, riding a team time trial ahead of the charging peloton.

“I was not expecting that at all,” Cort said. “The idea was just to get through the stage as easily as possible and not even try to sprint. Quickstep was keeping the break very, very close, and we came with the idea to go for the bonus sprint and see if I could get some bonus seconds for the classification, so we went there and they brought the breakaway back for the bonus sprint.

“It was a hard sprint on cobbles and suddenly we were a small group with a gap. I didn’t really think about it but especially the Ineos guys and Foss, they came straight away and said, Hup, hup! Let’s go!’ I was keen straight away to go on the attack there with those guys. It was a great group to ride the last 25 kilometers. It was the perfect team time-trial teamwork.”

Cort now leads the Volta ao Algarve by 18 seconds and also leads the points competition. Tomorrow, he will defend his yellow jersey on the hilly run from Albufeira to the summit of Alto do Malhão. The Volta ao Algarve will finish Sunday with a flat 24-km time trial in Lagoa.

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Volta ao Algarve S2: Magnus Cort wins with spectacular bike throw

Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost) came out of nowhere in the closing 100m in an uphill sprint to snatch victory in the second stage at the Volta ao Algarve.

Ilan Van Wilder (Soudal Quick-Step) led out a long, grinding sprint, and was raising his arms to celebrate when the cagey Dane stabbed his bike across the line.

Cort darted up the left side of the road as the finish swept left, and he found an opening late after being boxed in with 200m to go.

“I was lucky to come clear and in the last five meters I came clear. It was super nice,” Cort said. “I was thinking about this stage, and I didn’t know if I could make it up this climb. One thing is trying, but it is really amazing to win with the main GC riders from the bunch.”

Cort poured on the gas and snagged the win in impressive manner. Van Wilder’s pained face told the story, with Rui Costa (Intermarche-Circus-Wanty) crossing the line third.

“I know I am quite good in finishes like this, so I went from quite far. In the end, I thought I won,” Van Wilder said. “I didn’t celebrate too soon, but I celebrated on the finish line. I lost by the thickness of a tire in front of me. It is a pity, but what I can do about it?”

A six-rider break pulled away early, including Matthew Gibson (Human Powered Health). The speed ramped up in the closing hour with Ineos Grenadiers driving the pace. Wednesday’s winner and overnight leader Alexander Kristoff (Uno-X) was among the many riders who peeled off before the final climb.

Michał Kwiatkowski set the pace for Ineos Grenadiers, with the peloton lined up behind him. The peloton melted behind him to have about 40 riders left.

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S1: Alexander Kristoff barrels to sprint win for Uno-X

Alexander Kristoff celebrates victory Wednesday at the Volta ao Algarve. (Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Alexander Kristoff used his pure power to fend off the favorites to win a bunch sprint to open the Volta ao Algarve on Wednesday.

Kristoff timed it perfectly into a headwind to barrel to his first victory since moving across to Uno-X. Jordi Meeus (Bora Hansgrohe) crossed the line second, while Uno-X went 1-3, with Søren Wærenskjold sprinting to third.

“It’s nice to win so early in the season, and I had a really nice leadout,” Kristoff said. “It worked out so great today. We are trying to build on what we’re doing. The feeling when you cross the finish line first is undescribable, it is great.”

It’s another big win for Uno-X, the second-tier Norwegian-Danish team that’s slated to race its first Tour de France this summer.

Pre-stage favorite Fabio Jakobsen (Soudal Quick-Step) was fourth, while Tom Pidcock was in the mix in his season debut for Ineos Grenadiers with fifth.

Pidcock was later relegated to last in the sprint, but was still clocked in at the same time as the leaders. The race jury ruled that his sprint was a bit too rowdy.

An early break was inevitably reeled in, and there were a few crashes in the nervous approach to the line for the bunch sprint.

The Volta ao Algarve continues Thursday with the 186.3km second stage from Sagres to Alto da Fóia. The first-category mountaintop finish will create the first significant splits and reveal who has the legs to win the overall.

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