Welshman Thomas placed fifth on the final, climb-filled stage behind Alberto Contador (Tinkoff). Contador’s solo move on Alto do Malhao shows that his early-season climbing form is in a good place on a day that Grand Tour rivals Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Alejandro Valverde (Movsitar) also took significant wins elsewhere.
Vuelta a España winner Fabio Aru (Astana) finished second on the stage, with Frenchman Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) in third.
Race leader Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) was distanced relatively early on, during the first ascent of Alto do Malhao, and quickly lost time and any chance of standing on the top step of the final podium.
Thomas won last year’s edition of Volta ao Algarve before a standout season that saw him claim the victory in E3 Harelbeke and an extended spell in the top 10 of the Tour de France, before eventually finishing 15th. This season Thomas is concentrating on stage races, rather than the classics, as he seeks to establish himself as a GC leader at Team Sky.
Although Thomas did not win any stages in this year’s Volta ao Algarve, his third place in Friday’s time trial stage saw him gain valuable time on his GC rivals and his final climbing performance was enough for him to claim the race win ahead of Ion Izagirre (Movistar) by 19 seconds and Contador in third at 26 seconds.
Volta ao Algarve 2016, stage five: Almodovar to Malhao, 196km
1. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff
2. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 20 secs
3. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at same time
4. Manuel Amaro (Por) LA Aluminios at 21 secs
5. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky at 28 secs
6. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale at same time
8. Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling at 30 secs
9. Julian Arredondo (Col) Trek-Segafredo at same time
10. Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling at 31 secs
Final general classification
1. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
2. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Movistar at 19 secs
3. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff at 26 secs
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 32 secs
5. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo at 49 sces
6. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Soudal at 50 secs
7. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha at 1-03
8. Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling at 1-04
9. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 1-25
10. Manuel Amaro (Por) LA Aluminios at 1-27