Volta ao Algarve (st. 2)
9th place for Basque rider from Movistar Team at first difficult finish in Monchique, just before crucial TT where he will battle end to end against the top guns
What seemed like a day suited for resistant sprinters became the first duel between the GC guys in the 40th Volta ao Algarve. Michal Kwiatkowski (OPQ) raised his arms victorious in Monchique, ending point of stage two in the Portuguese course over 197km, starting at Lagoa and including a Cat-3 climb in the last few kilometers. The climb was approached by the bunch together, led by Movistar Team as the Blues tried to share efforts between their sprinters and Jonathan Castroviejo, ready to fight against the top guns.
The Basque powerhouse would end up into a second echelon of favourites, after the Polish’s attack was followed by Costa (LAM), Contador (TCS) and Prades (OFM) with no success for them. Alongside ‘Castro’, 9th through the finish at 16 seconds, couldn’t be Adriano Malori -just over a minute behind the day’s winner- and Juanjo Lobato, the stiff pace in the climb not allowing him to test his legs on a day more favourable to the Andalusian’s chances.
Friday will bring a trascendental ITT: 13.6km from Vila do Bispo to Sagres, with no long ascents and the only complications from the cobbles next to the coastal Fortaleza, where the Movistar Team -counting on Jonathan and Malori, as well as Alex Dowsett or Jesús Herrada- will have several shots available to shine high.