Spaniard gets through first selection in Algarve, claims 5th in Monchique; Ion Izagirre dropped back after costly puncture with 5km to go. Valverde stays 2nd overall in Oman before Green Mountain
It was a tale of ups and downs for the Movistar Team at the first of three decisive stages in the 2015 Volta ao Algarve, which led the riders to Monchique (197km) after a steep Cat-3 climb in the finale. While bad luck stroke Ion Izagirre, out of the first elite group after suffering a flat tire with 5km remaining, Rubén Fernández crossed the line in 5th spot, into the pursuit of new race leader Geraint Thomas (SKY), whose strong attack into the climb awarded him the win. The Spaniard is now 6th in the GC, 33" in arrears, looking set for another solid week of racing in the eve of the 19km ITT to the Cabo Sao Vicente, the westernmost place in continental Europe, on Friday. Jonathan Castroviejo went on the attack just before the climb and should be, together with Adriano Malori and Izagirre himself, a good reference for tomorrow.
Green Mountain set to decide GC in Oman
Stage three in the Tour of Oman, 158km around Al Mussanah, had intense heat (almost 40ºC) as absolute main role in a day otherwise easy for most of the bunch. Jasha Sütterlin, 16th, was the top Movistar Team performer in an inevitable bunch sprint, narrowly won by Alexander Kristoff (KAT) over Andrea Guardini (AST). Alejandro Valverde stays in 2nd overall before the Queen stage: 189km starting at Sultan Qaboos Grande Mosque and finishing atop the Green Mountain (Jabal Al Akhdhar), 6km at 10% average.