Champion debut

The 35th Tour of the Algarve saw race favourite Alberto Contador make his first visit to the region a winning one.

The Spanish Astana team star was only in 126th place behind opening and closing stage victor Heinrich Haussler following Wednesday’s Albufeira-Olhao start, but soon worked himself to within striking distance of yellow jersey holder and compatriot Toni Colom (Katusha).

Saturday’s 33km Castro Marim-Tavira time trial saw Contador hit the front, establishing a 33s advantage over the peloton which he was never to relinquish during the subsequent procession to the Portimao harbour front. Quick Step’s Sylvain Chavanel finished second ahead of Liberty Seguros’ Ruben Plaza and the best-placed Portuguese rider, Tiago Machado (Madeinox) in fourth. Local Palmeiras Resort/Tavira star David Blanco came in a highly credible 14th in this inaugural race of the domestic season.