Volta Algarve – Greipel’s stage but Thomas wins GC


André Greipel wins his first race of 2015 in Algarve whilst Geraint Thomas wins the overall

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Volta Algarve – Greipel’s stage but Thomas wins GC

André Greipel has won the final stage of the Volta Algarve, the first win of the season for the German. In a bunch sprint, the German champion beat Tom Van Asbroeck and Rüdiger Selig.


Photo voltaaoalgarve.com 

The stage to Vilamoura was flat with only one climb of third category. The pattern of the race changed a few times. First there was a front group of three riders, then it was five and finally seven escapees.

It wasn’t until the final kilometres that front group was caught thanks to the chasers from teams interested in a bunch kick and protecing Thomas’s overall lead.

André Greipel: “It’s always a nice feeling to get that first win of the season. The team set up the sprint perfectly for me. They did a great job all day long. A lot of Portuguese teams tried to get in the breakaway and in the end seven riders were in front. We were worried that if they all worked together, they could stay ahead until the finish”.

“Sean De Bie and Stig Broeckx controlled the breakaway. We knew the finish area, which really suited us. We had a plan and it worked out well. The Volta ao Algarve is a good race for us to lay the foundations for the next races. My condition is good, the same goes for the teammates. The spirit is good, we all worked for one goal. We look forward to what’s coming.”

“It was not easy for me to skip the Tour Down Under this year, I participated seven years in a row. I started the competition later than usual. I had a calmer start and hopefully that pays off during the season and I’ll be more fresh. The next few days will be more relaxed and next weekend the classic season can begin. I will ride Kuurne – Brussels – Kuurne. I’m ready for it, hopefully the weather will be good.”

Geraint Thomas meanwhile safely completed the final stage of the Volta ao Algarve to secure overall victory in Portugal. Thomas maintained his advantage of 27-seconds over nearest rival Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx – Quick-Step) to pull on the yellow jersey and clinch a third stage-race success of his career.

The foundations for Thomas’s victory were laid after an opportunistic breakaway on day two left the 28 year old with a stage win and a lead in excess of 30 seconds. Two days later Team Sky helped Thomas defend that margin on the queen stage and replicate Porte’s overall victory from 2012.

After the race Thomas admitted he was happy to have taken an opportunity which turned into a big race win. “Richie was the leader coming into the race but I took my chance on the second day and I happened to get the jersey. It’s gone amazingly well. For the team – two stages, the overall and the mountains jersey – it’s been a really good, enjoyable week”.

“I’m just happy to get the win. We’ve got a big month ahead with Paris-Nice and the classics. The form seems to be building nicely so I’m looking forward to the next few weeks. You look at the previous [Volta Algarve] winners and there are a lot of strong guys there. There’s a lot of strong teams here too. I don’t get to win very often so it’s really nice.”

1. André Greipel, Lotto Soudal 4:15:40
2. Tom Van Asbroeck, Team LottoNL-Jumbo
3. Rudiger Selig, Team Katusha
4. Gianni Meersman, Etixx – Quick-Step
5. Phil Bauhaus, Bora-Argon 18
6. Roy Jans, Wanty – Groupe Gobert
7. Jurgen Roelandts, Lotto Soudal
8. Alexander Porsev, Team Katusha
9. Ben Swift, Team Sky
10. Filipe Cardoso, Efapel

27. Geraint Thomas, Team Sky
42. Richie Porte, Team Sky
52. Michal Kwiatkowski, Etixx – Quick-Step

1. Geraint Thomas, Team Sky 19:46:13
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 0:02:21

1. Geraint Thomas, Team Sky 38 pts
2. Gianni Meersman, Etixx – Quick-Step 38
3. Michal Kwiatkowski, Etixx – Quick-Step 30
4. Richie Porte, Team Sky 25
5. André Greipel, Lotto Soudal 25
6. Ben Swift, Team Sky 22

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