Welsh cyclist Geraint Thomas retained his winning title at the Volta ao Algarve for the second consecutive year, registering the lowest cumulative time in the competition’s five stages.
The Team Sky cyclist finished 19 and 26 seconds ahead of Spanish rivals Jon Izaguirre (Movistar) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff).
His path to victory became easier when race leader Tony Martin – who Thomas trailed by just three seconds – drifted out of contention on the uphill finish of Alto do Malhão in Loulé to cross the line in fifth place in Sunday’s (February 21) final stage.
“Once Tony Martin got dropped first time up the climb, the stage was all about defending that lead,” Thomas told his team’s website.
“Izaguirre was the biggest threat after that and I just didn’t get carried away when Contador and Uran attacked.”
He didn’t want to get ahead of himself to try and win the final stage, instead focusing on retaining his lead in the general standings.
“I just followed Izaguirre all the way until well into the last kilometre. I had a little dig myself but I kind of knew I had it by then.”
He added that the “the worst thing that could happen was to follow Contador, blow up and then maybe lose the race overall. It was just about playing it safe and finishing the job off.”
Meantime, organisers have deemed the Volta ao Algarve “another successful sports event” that attracted “thousands of people” to the region’s roads.
Amaro Antunes (LA-Antarte) was the top performing Portuguese cyclist, finishing 10th overall.
The top 10 of the event’s general standings is:
1) Geraint Thomas (GBR) – Team Sky – 18.34.15hrs
2) Jon Izaguirre (ESP) – Movistar +19”
3) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Tinkoff +26”
4) Thibaut Pinot (FRA) – FDJ +32”
5) Primoz Roglic (SVN) – LottoNL-Jumbo +49”
6) Tony Gallopin (FRA) – Lotto-Soudal +50”
7) Ilnur Zakarin (RUS) – Katusha +1.03
8) Jarlinson Pantano (COL) – IAM Cycling +1.04
9) Fabio Aru (ITA) – Astana +1.25
10) Manuel Antunes Amaro (POR) – +1.27
By MICHAEL BRUXO