Bonus seconds put Spaniard into lead after 2nd place to Johim Ariesen (MET) in Portel, end to Alentejo's stage two. Double crash for Alex Dowsett -no consequences- and great Movistar team-work for Nairo Quintana in Abu Dhabi opener
In a race so often decided by small details such as the 35th Volta ao Alentejo, with all stages coming down to a sprint and no big elevations, the Movistar Team and Carlos Barbero proved to be as much focused as it was required to take the GC lead on stage two, Thursday, 171km between Monforte and Portel.
The Spaniard, 2nd-place finisher behind Johim Ariesen (MET), will now wear yellow after his six-second bonus at the finish equalled Rinaldo Nocentini's (STA) win the day prior -Barbero had already picked up 4" as third over the line-. The 3" added by Barbero's win through the intermediate sprint in Redondo, in the beginning of the stage, became crucial for yellow.
Barbero, race victor in 2014 -the 25-year-old from Burgos could become the first-ever multiple overall winner of the race since its inception-, will have a strong Movistar Team at his disposal to defend the jersey. Friday's route will be the longest this week, 208km to Mértola, with coastal winds adding extra difficult on Saturday, towards Alcácer do Sal. Should they conserve pole position after that, Sunday's stage to Évora could bring Barbero his maiden win in Movistar Team colours – and a very special one.
Abu Dhabi: Late scare for Dowsett, no injuries
The Movistar Team covered, in turn, a good stage one in the Abu Dhabi Tour, its leader Nairo Quintana perfectly covered all over the 189km loop around Madinat Zayed by the strong rouleur block from the telephone squad -Erviti, Sütterlin, Bennati, Dowsett, Arcas-. The Colombian safely made it (39th) through a last-kilometer crash, which involved the Blues' Alex Dowsett.
The Briton, who had already been involved into a fall just over 50km from the line, concluded his effort unscathed. The squad directed by Chente García Acosta will continue to protect its leader before Saturday's Queen stage at another flat route (153km) towards Al Marina.
Picture ©: Volta ao Alentejo