Tour of Algarve: Win for Greipel

André Greipel (Lotto Soudal) won the fourth stage at Volta a Algarve in a photo finish with John Degenkolb and Dylan Groenewegen

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Tour of Algarve: Win for Greipel

André Greipel (Lotto Soudal) won the fourth stage at Volta a Algarve in a photo finish with John Degenkolb and Dylan Groenewegen

It was expected to be a typical sprint stage and four riders got in a breakaway which had up to six minutes advantage.

Before the finale began, João Matias was dropped from the break while Ryan Mullen, Dion Smith and Taco van der Hoorn were left in front. They decided not to give up and it was a difficult task for the sprint teams to catch them. The teams had to give all they got to catch the escapees in time. In the end the sprint teams were stronger. The sprint was very close and the photo finish had to confirm that German champion André Greipel had won the stage. He beat John Degenkolb and Dylan Groenewegen.

André Greipel: “It was a cat and mouse game between the break and the bunch. In the last 70 kilometres it was really à bloc. Frederik Frison and Jelle Wallays where riding at the head of the bunch for us, chasing down the leaders. It was really close, but we caught them in the end”.

“The escapees were strong, but so were our riders and those of the other sprint teams. Jens Debusschere had crashed so we had to change our plan. Nikolas Maes took me, Tiesj Benoot, Tony Gallopin and Jürgen Roelandts to the front. Jürgen led me to the wheel of Arnaud Démare in the last kilometre. I lost some positions when Richeze took Gavria to the front. I did a long and fast sprint and was lucky to get the wheel of Degenkolb”.

“I beat him on the line. It was a nice sprint to watch I think. I knew that I won. It was close, but as sprinters we are dealing a lot with differences of only a few centimetres. This was a nice victory! The Alto do Malhão, where tomorrow’s stage finishes, is steep and tough. Tiesj and Tony can definitely gain positions on GC.”

Dylan Groenewegen (3rd): “I have enough power and my speed is good, it sucks that it just does not work out,” said Groenewegen, who was just a few centimetres short of the win. “In the last corner, I was too excited to try to get by Greipel. I should not do that, it failed and I lost some speed. I started the sprint a few bike lengths behind the German. I still was close, which indicates that I’m fine.”

Groenewegen understood that the sprint was not the main focus today given Roglic had the leader’s jersey. “To retain the leader’s jersey for Primoz was more important. We controlled the pack and so you miss those guys in the sprint. At such a time, you have to deal with it differently. If our lead-out man Robert Wagner is run flat then it gets harder in the final.”

Roglic keeps the lead: “The main goal was to retain the jersey, we succeeded.” Roglic said. “The team controlled the race and after 120 kilometres, the race really began,” Roglic said. “It was not an easy task, but we succeeded. Tomorrow, we should do the same and keep the jersey.”

1. André Greipel, Lotto Soudal
2. John Degenkolb, Trek – Segafredo
3. Dylan Groenewegen, Team LottoNL-Jumbo
4. Arnaud Démare, FDJ
5. Jasper Stuyven, Trek – Segafredo
6. Andrea Pasqualon, Wanty – Groupe Gobert
7. Fernando Gaviria, Quick-Step Floors
8. Nacer Bouhanni, Cofidis, Solutions Crédits
9. Michael Schwarzmann, Bora – Hansgrohe
10. Edvald Boasson Hagen, Dimension Data

33. Daniel Martin, Quick-Step Floors
74. Scott Thwaites, Dimension Data
78. Mark Cavendish, Dimension Data
102. Tao Geoghegan Hart, Team Sky
138. Ryan Mullen, Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team 0:34

DNS Alex Dowsett, Movistar Team

1. Primož Roglič, Team LottoNL-Jumbo
2. Michal Kwiatkowski, Team Sky 0:22
3. Jonathan Castroviejo, Movistar Team 0:36
4. Tony Gallopin, Lotto Soudal 0:55
5. Luis Leon Sanchez, Astana Pro Team 0:59
6. Daniel Martin, Quick-Step Floors 1:31

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