Volta ao Algarve 2018, Kwiatkowski takes stage 5 and the GC!

Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) wins stage 5 of the Volta ao Algarve 2018. The Polish, who has been part of today’s unusual 30-riders breakaway, attacked in the early stages of the race and went solo in the last two kilometers after having chased and overtaken Zdenek Stybar (Quick Step Floors), who was targeting a valiant win on the Alto de Malhao up-hill finish. Ruben Guerreiro (Trek-Segafredo) almost succeeded in seizing the former Milano-Sanremo winner by attacking within the last kilometer but the Portuguese try has been attempted too lately to achieve the stage victory. Everything changes in the Overall where Michal Kwiatkowski, who was the GC’s runner-up until today’s start, takes the lead and wins the Volta ao Algarve 2018.

A partially cloudy but mild day welcomed the riders this morning at the start in Faro. Five of them did not present themselves on the starting line: Jasha Sutterlin and Rafael Valls (Movistar Team), Mathias Brändle (Trek-Segafredo), Anthony Turgis (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits) and José Neves (W52-FC Porto). For the first 15 kilometers of racing this has been the only noticeable highlight of the day. In facts, the peloton proceeded all together without accelerating the pace. Then, a massive breakaway kicked off, firstly formed of 30 athletes.

Stefan Kung and Jurgen Roelandts (BMC), Cesare Benedetti and Lukas Postlberger (Bora-hansgrohe), Arnaud Demare and Davide Cimolai (FDJ), Lawrence Naesen and Jelle Wallays (Lotto-Soudal), Philippe Gilbert and Zdenek Stybar (Quick Step Floors), Serge Pauwels and Johann Van Zyl (Dimension Data), Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin), Michal Golas and Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky), Simon Geschke and Chad Haga (Sunweb), Ruben Guerreiro and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Ben Swift (UAE Team Emirates), Jonathan Lastra and Julen Amezqueta (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Dimitri Claeys (Cofidis), Timothy Dupont, Dion Smith and Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Pedro Paulinho (Efapel), Cesar Martingil (Liberty Seguros-Carglass), Nicola Toffali (Sporting-Tavira) Gustavo Veloso (W52-Porto) has been today’s first attackers.

It took a while for the leaders to eke out an advantage but after 74 kilometers of racing the break has opened a 3’44” gap over the peloton, led by Team Sky’s men despite the participation of Golas and overall runner-up Kwiatkowski in the breakaway. The copious leading group went on all together until the bar opened with over 84 kilometers remaining: Jelle Wallays (Lotto Soudal), Dimitri Claeys (Cofidis) and Timothy Dupont (Wanty) attacked and Jurgen Roelandts (BMC) and Rúben Guerreiro (Trek-Segafredo) attempted to chase the leaders.

By the way this attempt was called off and, thanks to the leaders’ common and constant shifts in the front, the break widened the gap to 5’15” after 100 kilometers of racing. At this point Chad Haga (Team Sunweb), Arnaud Démare (FDJ), Igor Anton (Team Dimension Data), Pedro Paulinho (Efapel), Cesar Martingil (Liberty Seguros) and Nicola Toffali (Sporting) raised the white flag. With over 70 kilometers to go Lukas Postlberger opened a gap over the break and went solo extending his lead to 1’ 10 kilometers after. The Austrian actually attempted a try from other times and believed to achieve the success with almost two hours ahead to race by his self.

Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky), Ruben Guerreiro (Trek-Segafredo), Serge Pauwels (Team DImension Data) and Simon Geschke (Team Sunweb) began to chase Bora-hansgrohe rider with over 40 kilometers remaining but almost all the chasing group bridged the gap. This was the moment in which Zdenek Stybar (Quick Step Floors) went solo and chased Postlberger. When the leader was joined 16 were both the kilometers to go and the gap over the chase. After having struggled together in order to widen the gap, Stybar went solo with 11 kilometers to go and three kms later the Czech was sitting 33 seconds ahead of the chasers.

At the bottom of the Alto de Malhao, with just over three kilometers remaining, Stybar was in the front of the race and his advantage increased to 43 seconds. The chasers’pace was very high and as soon Stybar headed the slopes of the ascent he started to lose out and, with two kilometers to go, Kwiatkowski reeled in the leader and then attacked going solo. Behind the Polish Ruben Guerreiro (Trek-Segafredo) and Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data) struggled to chase the leader but Guerreiro’s attack, who was launched within the last kilometer, has been useless for the purpose of taking the success. The peloton finished the race 1’53” after the winner and Kwiatkowski, in this manner, wins stage 5 and the Overall.

Volta ao Algarve 2018 Stage Classification

1 KWIATKOWSKI Michal Team Sky    4:18:02
2 GUERREIRO Ruben Trek – Segafredo    +0:04
3 PAUWELS Serge Dimension Data    +0:08
4 KÜNG Stefan BMC Racing Team    +0:13
5 BENEDETTI Cesare BORA – hansgrohe    +0:15
6 SMITH Dion Wanty – Groupe Gobert    +0:17
7 GESCHKE Simon Team Sunweb    ,,
8 AMEZQUETA Julen Caja Rural – Seguros RGA    +0:23
9 SWIFT Ben UAE-Team Emirates    +0:29
10 BACKAERT Frederik Wanty – Groupe Gobert    +0:35

Volta ao Algarve 2018 Overall Classification

1 KWIATKOWSKI Michal Team Sky    18:54:11
2 THOMAS Geraint Team Sky    1:31
3 VAN GARDEREN Tejay BMC Racing Team    2:16
4 MOLLEMA Bauke Trek – Segafredo    2:22
5 JUNGELS Bob Quick-Step Floors    2:33
6 ROSON Jaime Movistar Team    2:49
7 SCHACHMANN Maximilian Quick-Step Floors    2:50
8 PAUWELS Serge Dimension Data    ,,
9 GROSSSCHARTNER Felix BORA – hansgrohe    2:51
10 OLIVEIRA Nelson Movistar Team    2:54

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