Volta ao Algarve (st. 3)
Brilliant win by the reigning European time trial champion against rainbow jersey holder Tony Martin and GC leader Primoz Roglic; 'Castro' now seats 3rd overall after claiming the Movistar Team's 5th success of the 2017 season
Jonathan Castroviejo claimed a sensational win on stage three of the Volta ao Algarve, a 18km individual time trial in and around Sagres where the current European TT champion obtained the Movistar Team's fifth success of the 2017 season. The Basque allrounder claimed success over a flat, windy course suiting heavier competitors, the man from Getxo managing to beat World champion Tony Martin (KAT) by four seconds and leave race leader Primoz Roglic (TLJ) five seconds behind. 'Castro' now sits third overall, 36" away from the Slovenian and 14" in arrears of Michal Kwiatkowski (SKY), who climbed onto second.
Castroviejo, fourth quickest through the first intermediate point (5km), maintained a constant pace over the parcours that held off the final charge by Martin, the strongest through the second half of the course, and round off a magnificent race by the Blues, with Alex Dowsett in 7th and Nelson Oliveira in 9th. It's the Spaniard's first win of the season and the ninth of a pro career.
The Volta ao Algarve will now tackle its longest stage tomorrow, 203km to Tavira with the sprinters chasing another success, before the race decider up the Alto do Malhao on Sunday. That's the very same climb whose descent saw Castroviejo getting badly injured into a crash against a spectator, which kept him four months out of racing.
Jonathan Castroviejo: “It's so special for me to come back to this race, after everything that happened for me last season, and be a protagonist again. As well yesterday as today I could be up there with the top guns, and claiming this victory is a marvellous feeling for me. I couldn't be more proud of what I achieved on this TT.
"It's been so rewarding, beating the rivals I managed to leave behind today. I was within the top four at all time trials I took part last season, claimed the European title, a medal in the Worlds… but winning here in the beginning of the season, against such big names, is even a step above for me. Also, my performance yesterday on a mountain finish was quite good, which gives me lots of motivation to keep chasing these one-week stageraces.
"The GC might not be decided yet, I think. Sunday's finish will see some fireworks for sure. Malhao is a short climb, one you take only eight minutes to complete, but I think it will create more gaps than Fóia. It's a very explosive one, and with the race finishing there, everyone will do their best and the bunch will split completely, even before the final ascent."
Picture ©: BettiniPhoto.net