Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) produced a powerful sprint to win stage four of the Volta ao Algarve ahead of Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) and Jasper Philipsen (UAE Emirates).
Despite suffering from a mechanical inside the final 10 kilometres, Groenewegen managed to make it back into the peloton in time to contest the sprint, and benefited from an excellent lead-out to take the victory.
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He was fourth in line going through the final corner behind a teammate and two Groupama-FDJ riders, who had lost contact with their leader Démare. The Frenchman worked his way up to second place with a long-range sprint, but Groenewegen’s head start was significant and he held on for a comfortable victory.
Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates) finished safely in the bunch to retain his overall lead, although a small split in the bunch saw Søren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb) and Wout Poels) gain two seconds, leapfrogging Enric Mas (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) on the GC into second and third respectively.
How it happened
A breakaway of five riders formed at the start of the stage, comprising of Oscar Pelegri (Vito-Feirense), Fabio Costa (UD Oliveirense / InOutbuild), Luis Fernandes (Ludofoods Louletano Aviludo), Nikolay Mihaylov (Efapel) and Jesus Nanclares (Miranda-Mortaguna).
They were able to build a lead over the peloton of five minutes, with Fernandes winning both of the intermediate sprint, and Pelegri the first King of the Mountains.
The gap began to fall as the sprinters’ teams took up the chase, and had been diminished to just 1-30 with 40km to go.
Mihaylov and Pelegri had struck out alone ahead of the final intermediate sprint, won by the former, but the pair were brought back on the final climb of the day roughly 20km from the finish.
A counter-attack from David Ribeiro (LA Aluminios) saw him take maximum points at the top of the climb, but he was quickly reeled in.
It was with 8km to go that Groenewegen suffered his mechanical. His Jumbo-Visma team did a fine job of rallying around him, however, and within minutes the Dutchman was back in the peloton.
They too executed an excellent lead-out while other trains floundered. Stage one winner Fabio Jakobsen was nowhere to be seen despite early work from his Deceuninck-Quick-Step team, while another pre-stage favourite Pascal Ackermann managed to finish fourth despite a lack of a lead-out from his Bora-Hansgrohe team-mates.
The Volta ao Algarve concludes tomorrow with a stage from Faro to Malhao, that culminates in an uphill finish where the outcome of the race will be decided.
Volta ao Algarve 2019, stage four: Albufeira to Tavira (198.3km)
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, in 4-56-07
2. Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
3. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates
4. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
5. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
6. Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto-Soudal
7. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty Groupe-Gobert
8. Jens Debuscherre (Bel) Kausha-Alpecin
9. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
10. Jon Aberasturi (Esp) Caja Rural, all same time
General classification after stage four
2. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb, at 29s
3. Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky, at 30s
5. David de la Cruz (Esp), at 57s
6. Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb, at 1-08
7. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck-Quick-Step, at 2-12
8. Neilson Powless (USA) Jumbo-Visma, at 2-13
9. Marc Hirschi (Sui) Team Sunweb, at 2-35
10. Amaro Antunes (Por) CCC Team, at 2-43