Sky high!

Blessed by brilliant sunshine throughout, the 38th Tour of the Algarve was dominated by Britain’s Sky team from start to finish.

Victorious Australian Richie Porte who was riding his first race for Sky having spent two years as Alberto Contador’s pacemaker at Saxo Bank, thanked his team mates in Portimao on Sunday afternoon.

“Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins were supporting me and that’s how this team operates,” he said. “I knew I had good form and I raced here as preparation for Paris-Nice.”

The tone was set when another Sky man, Boasson Hagen, built on the momentum of his opening stage ninth place to go clear of the peloton between Faro and Lagoa on day two.

By Friday Porte had taken charge at the head of affairs during the climb from Castro Martim and Malhao to establish a 12 second lead overall and his close up finish at the end of Saturday’s penultimate stage proved good enough to take that advantage into the concluding Lagoa- Portimão time trial.

Here the 27-year-old from Tasmania took third behind Wiggins and German 2011 Omega champion Tony Martin to top both sprint specialists by 37 seconds in the final standings.

With first and third (Wiggins) places Sky also took team honours while Movistar’s Rui Costa and RadioShack’s Tiago Machado were the highest placed Portuguese riders in fifth and sixth.

For the local Carmin-Prio-Tavira team David Livramento did best in 35th place to round off a highly satisfactory five-day opening to this year’s European continental cycling season.

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