Report – Volta Algarve – Win for Porte


Richie Porte wins stage 4 of the Volta Algarve whilst Geraint Thomas holds on to his leaders jersey in the mountains

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Report – Volta Algarve – Win for Porte

On a good day for Team Sky, there was double cause for celebration as Richie Porte won stage 4 of the Volta Algarve whilst Geraint Thomas held on to his leaders jersey in the mountains.

The summit finish was on top ofthe famed Alto do Malhão, and it was Porte who put in a big effort to help position Thomas, before attacking to claim the stage and win by three seconds. Thomas crossed the line fourth, nine seconds back on his team-mate, to ensure a 27-second advantage heading into Sunday’s final stage.

Porte’s victory saw him rise to fourth overall, 1:14 behind Thomas whilst Kwiatkowski moved up to 2nd on GC.

Etixx – Quick-Step took the fight to Team Sky on the closing stages of the race with a barrage of attacks from Tony Martin and Zdenek Stybar. However the team stood their ground and brought Thomas into the finale in the best-possible position as a select group formed.

The Czech rider Stybar had already been testing the legs of the yellow jersey group, with Team Sky protecting the leadership of Geraint Thomas. Stybar was even solo with 5km to go, but the race came back together just before the Cat. 2 finish on Alto do Malhão (2.5km, 9% average gradient).

Team Sky was able to keep Thomas in good position, but the stage win remained in question. There were only nine riders left in contention for the stage win inside the final kilometre, including World Champion Kwiatkowski. But it was Thomas’s teammate, Richie Porte, who emerged as the stage winner, with World Road Champion Kwiatkowski a few seconds behind in 2nd. Jon Izaguirre (Movistar) was 3rd.

Porte was understandly happy after the stage, admitting to “I never really thought that a win would be an option for me going into today. It’s always great to win a stage but it was all for G going into today”.

“The guy has done me that many favours and put his race on the line that many times for me. To win that stage and have him retain his GC is an unbelievable day for us – and then you hear that Froomey has won and taken the lead in Spain. It’s incredible!

“I think all the boys today were massively committed. With Ben Swift, Lars-Petter, Salva, Sebastian and then the guys at the start – Andy Fenn and Boswell – riding all day. They really set it up for G and I”.

“Quick-Step made the race hard and were trying to disrupt the rhythm. It wasn’t ideal for me to have to ride that early but I didn’t have much choice. It worked out okay! On this climb every time Sky have ridden it we’ve won which is an awesome achievement.”

World Champion Calm
“I stayed quite calm until the first climb of Malhão,” World champion Kwiatkowski said, “We decided when the race came back together to accelerate. The peloton was reduced to 25 or 30 riders at that point. As decided with the team this morning, we then tried to attack and put the pressure on the other teams. First Tony Martin went, and then also Golas and Stybar to make Team Sky work hard in defense of Thomas”.

“In the end it didn’t succeed, but really it made the whole peloton work hard. The guys were super today! As for me, I waited until the last climb. Richie Porte was setting a really good pace. In the last kilometre I was riding pretty hard to try and go for the win, but Porte was really strong today and I couldn’t follow him in the last metres.”

“He deserved the victory. Concerning me, I am happy about my day today, and also I am really proud of the team. We stuck to the plan perfectly and if you don’t try, you never know if your tactic will work. This was a really long day, six hours of racing. I think the endurance training in Calpe worked very well for me”.

“In the final kilometers I didn’t feel tired, so it’s a good sign before my next races and things are on schedule. The feeling is much better than even two days ago. Now we will see what we can do tomorrow on the last stage. We have been racing great so far, with two stage wins and always being present in the actions, so I am confident we will do well again tomorrow.”

Seven riders made up the early break as the race departed Tavira. Team Sky let the gap go out to over five minutes, with a controlled chase necessary as breakaway member Adriano Malori (Movistar) sat just 2:11 off Thomas.

With over 40km still to race, nearest rival Martin looked to go solo the first time up the Alto do Malhão, with Porte leading the chase. More attacks followed but the race came back together inside 10km to go, with Team Sky finishing with a flurry as they secured a fourth win in five years on the climb.

Final 184.3km stage, from Almodôvar to Vilamoura, is on Sunday. There is one Cat. 3 climb in the earlier kilometres. There is a descent into the finish.

1. Richie Porte, Team Sky 5:55:34
2. Michal Kwiatkowski, Etixx – Quick-Step 0:00:03
3. Ion Izagirre, Movistar Team 0:00:06
4. Geraint Thomas, Team Sky 0:00:09
5. Michael Woods , Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 0:00:13
6. Tiago Machado, Team Katusha
7. Davide Formolo, Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:16
8. Alberto Losada Alguacil, Team Katusha 0:00:21
9. Luis Leon Sanchez, Astana Pro Team 0:00:25
10. José Mendes, Bora-Argon 18 0:00:31

58. Ben Swift, Team Sky 0:06:04
107. André Greipel, Lotto Soudal 16.07
166 Andrew Fenn, Team Sky 0:18:12

1. Geraint Thomas, Team Sky 15:30:33
2. Michal Kwiatkowski, Etixx – Quick-Step 0:00:27
3. Tiago Machado, Team Katusha 0:01:11
4. Richie Porte, Team Sky 0:01:14
5. Luis Leon Sanchez, Astana Pro Team 0:01:18
6. Rein Taaramae, Astana Pro Team 0:01:19
7. Sergei Chernetski, Team Katusha 0:01:32
8. Alberto Losada Alguacil, Team Katusha 0:01:55
9. Ruben Fernandez, Movistar Team 0:02:04
10. Ion Izagirre, Movistar Team

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