Remco Evenepoel stuns rivals with summit finish victory on stage two of the Volta ao Algarve 2020

The 20-year-old sets himself up for a second overall race victory already this year

Remco Evenepoel beat out a number of elite climbers to take the summit finish victory on stage two of the Volta ao Algarve.

The young Belgian sensation opened his sprint 200m from the finish line, pulling away from the likes of Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation), Miguel Ángel López (Astana) and Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) before holding off a late challenge from Bora-Hansgrohe’s Max Schachmann to take the stage win and race lead.

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Martin then finished third, with Costa behind him, while Lotto-Soudal’s Tim Wellens took fifth place.

Geraint Thomas was dropped with 3km to go, with Ineos then turning to try and set things up for Michał Kwiatkowksi, before the Polish rider also blew up in the final kilometre.

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) held on longer than expected on the 7.4km climb with an average gradient of six per cent, before he fell away with 3.5km remaining.

Evenepoel was emotional after the finish, having taken his eighth professional win following his overall victory at the Vuelta a San Juan. He now has three stages left to contend with, including an individual time trial on the final day, if he is to take his second overall title of the year.

How it happened

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Jenthe Biermans (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Miguel Salgueiro (LA Alumínios-LA Sport) attempted to form an early breakaway trio after 3.5km of racing. The bunch were always unlikely to let Van der Poel go up the road and they were brought back in within the next 2km.

7km later, a new escapee trio formed and Michael Schär (CCC Team), Casper Pedersen (Team Sunweb) and Dries de Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix) were allowed up the road as the day’s break.

The gap soon went up to a minute, and then eventually stuck at the two and a half minute mark after an hour of racing, where the average speed was 43km/h.

The gap would hardly change over the next 100km, as UAE Team Emirates, Deceuninck-Quick-Step and Uno-X Norwegian Development Team drove the peloton.

Their comfortable gap soon fell, though, to around 30 seconds, as De Bondt fell back to the bunch while Schär and Pedersen continued their effort.

The duo were caught with 20km to go as Deceunink – Quick Step and UAE Team Emirates led the peloton, with Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates) putting in a long effort that saw him ‘win’ the intermediate sprint with 11km remaining.

The final climb to Alto da Fóia started with 7.4km remaining and the purer climbers failed to put pressure on the likes of Van der Poel and Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) in the earlier, steeper sections of the climb.

Rodrigo Contreras then stretched his leg for Astana but wasn’t allowed to escape up the road as UAE Team Emirates and Ineos marshalled the front of the pack.

With 5km to go, Van der Poel was still hanging on the back but dropped off over the next kilometre, as Jan Polanc suffered on the front for UAE Team Emirates in aid of Rui Costa who sat behind him, with Geraint Thomas in third wheel.



Ben Swift then took over for Ineos, leading Kwiatkowski up to the front as Thomas drifted to the back of the group.

Astana’s Miguel Ángel López attacked with 3km to go as Rui Costa hesitated before following. Geraint Thomas was then dropped as the group began to thin out before CCC’s Simon Geschke made his move

The German was caught just after the 1km banner towards the highest point of the Algarve, with Dan Martin in the wheel of João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) who was driving a hard pace to set things up for team-mate Remco Evenepoel.

Evenepoel launched his attack with 200m to go, with López initially trying to follow but it was too late and the young Belgian was away. Evenepoel had gone early and Schachmann’s counter-attack looked to be bringing back the 20-year-old, but the Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider kicked again to just hold the German off on the line.

Results

Volta ao Algarve 2020, stage two: Sagres to Alto da Fóia (183.9km)

1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, in 4-46-38
2. Max Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, at same time
3. Dan Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation, at two seconds
4. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates
5. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, both at same time
6. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana, at 5s
7. Frederico Figueiredo (Por) Atum general – Tavira – Maria Nova Hotel, at 8s
8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
9. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
10. Amaro Antunes (Por) W52 – FC Porto, all at same time

General classification after stage two

1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, in 9-42-15
2. Max Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, at same time
3. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates, at two seconds
4. Dan Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation
5. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, both at same time
6. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana, at 5s
7. Amaro Antunes (Por) W52 – FC Porto, at 8s
8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
9. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
10. Amaro Antunes (Por) Atum general – Tavira – Maria Nova Hotel, all at same time