Volta ao Algarve – Geraint Thomas Solos to Victory


Welsh rider Geraint Thomas reminds the world just what a talent he is with a stage victory and leader’s jersey in Algarve

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Volta ao Algarve – Geraint Thomas Solos to Victory

Welsh rider Geraint Thomas reminded the world on Thursday just what a talent he is with a stage victory and leader’s jersey in Algarve. The former British Road Race champion spends a lot of time working for others but in the mountains of the Algarve, he sprang a surprise on his opponents.


Pic: Volta ao Algarve

Thomas hooked up with Rein Taaramae, already a winner himself this year, when the Astana rider attacked on the final climb of the day. Thomas then blew his rival away as he crested the summit and powered to his first win of the season, crossing the line 19 seconds clear of Taaramae.

The victory for Thomas, along with the bonus seconds for the win, means Thomas has 30 second lead over Taaramae on GC. He told TeamSky.com: “Once I’d decided to follow Taaramae, I looked back and everyone behind me was on the limit. I jumped across, took a few deep breaths, and then went over the top of him and managed to hold a decent lead all the way to the finish”.

“It was pretty unexpected if I’m honest. I knew I was doing OK but I didn’t know how I’d feel on that climb. It was pretty steep at the bottom, levelled off during the middle, and then ramped up towards the top again. Once I’d got over the summit, there were still some more little rises to overcome which definitely hurt, but I managed to get enough out of myself to take the win”.

“It was an amazing feeling crossing the line. I don’t get to win too often – especially not on my own – and it’s a great way to kick start my year.”

World Champion Michal Kwiatkowski was 6th on the stage and says “The team was amazing today,” Kwiatkowski explained. “All the guys stayed on the front the whole day. Tony, Zdenek, and I were able to stay really relaxed before the last climb. The last 50 kilometers were really technical and when we were looking back, the peloton was really lined out”.

“It was a really difficult stage. Five hours of racing, and the circuit around Monchique is difficult. But we have three riders in the top 10 GC now, all down by 33 seconds. Thomas is leading. We are looking forward to the time trial tomorrow and another hard stage that finishes in Malhao the following day. As of now, things are going as planned for us with a stage victory and three riders still in the GC hunt. I’m happy about my condition, and with such a hard stage this is the first time I tried to stay with the top riders. I’m happy we were present and we are now moving on to the next stages.”

The stage was along one, 197km from Lagoa to Monchique and five riders jumped clear after the usual flurry of attacks. The gap between break and peloton sat at around five minutes as Etixx – Quick-Step took control and brought them back after 169km. After the junction, more attacks came and another five man move got clear for a short time before Taaramae made his move and was joined by Thomas.

Thomas will now attempt to defend his jersey, but admits that task will be far from easy. He added: “There’s a 19km time trial tomorrow and I’ll ride full gas in that and see how I get on. Obviously, I want to hang on to the jersey, but there are some hard days ahead. “Saturday is a long, difficult stage, with a really testing finish. Having Richie and a few of the other guys close by on the GC means we’ll have plenty of cards to play, and that’s always a nice situation to be in.”

Stage Result
1. Geraint Thomas, Team Sky 4:59:13
2. Rein Taaramae, Astana Pro Team 0:00:19
3. Valerio Agnoli, Astana Pro Team 0:00:23
4. Luis Leon Sanchez, Astana Pro Team
5. Ruben Fernandez, Movistar Team
6. Michal Kwiatkowski, Etixx – Quick-Step
7. Zdenek Stybar, Etixx – Quick-Step
8. Alberto Losada Alguacil, Team Katusha
9. Sergei Chernetski, Team Katusha
10. Lars Petter Nordhaug, Team Sky

14. Richie Porte, Team Sky
28. Ben Swift, Team Sky 1.09
42. André Greipel, Lotto Soudal 0:02:04
145. Andrew Fenn, Team Sky 13.52

1. Geraint Thomas, Team Sky 9:12:56
2. Rein Taaramae, Astana Pro Team 0:00:30
3. Zdenek Stybar, Etixx – Quick-Step 0:00:33
4. Michal Kwiatkowski, Etixx – Quick-Step
5. Luis Leon Sanchez, Astana Pro Team
6. Ruben Fernandez, Movistar Team
7. Richie Porte, Team Sky
8. Sergei Chernetski, Team Katusha
9. Tony Martin, Etixx – Quick-Step
10. Tiago Machado, Team Katusha

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