Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s brilliant start to 2014 continued today as Michal Kwiatkowski soloed to win stage two of the Tour of the Algarve in Monchique.
The 23-year-old Pole attacked with around seven kilometres of the stage remaining, and managed to hold off a late chase from Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and world champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) on the two short climbs into the finish to take his second win of the season.
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Costa, on home soil, took second, with Contador completing the podium.
The pace was frantic for the final part of the stage, with numerous attacks and counter moves made.
Caja Rural’s Pello Bilbao was the last of those to chance their arm approaching the uphill finish; he attacked with 24 kilometres remaining, but was caught shortly after the start of an 18-kilometre finishing circuit.
Kwiatkowski’s team-mate Tony Martin, who won the race in 2011 and 2013, found the pace too hot, and was distanced before the finish.
Belkin and Tinkoff-Saxo shared the work at the front of the peloton on the lower slopes on the first of two third-category climbs to the finish, but were slow to react when Kwiatkowski made his move.
He quickly gained a 10-second advantage over a depleted peloton, and despite a frantic chase behind, took the victory.
Volta ao Algarve, stage two: Lagoa to Monchique, 196km
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step in 4-57-57
2. Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 0-06
3. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at st.
4. Eduard Prades (Spa) OFM-Quinta de Lixa at 0-07
5. Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0-17
6. Sergey Chernetski (Rus) Katusha
7. Chris Horner (USA) Lampre-Merida
8. Sergey Firsanov (Rus) RusVelo
9. Edgar Pinto (Por) LA Aluminos-Anarte
10. Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Caja Rural all at st.
Overall classification after stage two
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step in 8-49-33
2. Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 0-04
3. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0-12
4. Eduard Prades (Spa) OFM-Quinta de Lixa at 0-16
5. Edgar Pinto (Por) LA Aluminos-Anarte at 0-27
6. Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Caja Rural
7. Sergey Chernetski (Rus) Katusha
8. Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar
9. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha
10. Chris Horner (USA) Lampre-Merida all at st.
Lampre-Merida sprinter Sacha Modolo wins opening stage of the 2014 Volta ao Algarve
Volta ao Algarve 2013: Tony Martin blitzes final time trial stage to take the victory in Portugal