Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) continued to impress following his summit finish stage win on Thursday at the Volta ao Algarve, extending his overall lead in the race after finishing fifth on the stage three individual time trial.
Swiss champion Stefan Küng took the stage; his first victory of the season for new team Groupama-FDJ, finishing two seconds ahead of Søren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb) and five seconds ahead of Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck – Quick-Step).
The 20.3km time trial looked suited to the purer time triallists, and it proved a difficult day for overall hopefuls Wout Poels and David de la Cruz (both Team Sky) and Sam Oomen (Sunweb), who all dropped back on GC after their rides.
How it happened
A fairly flowing 20.3km test against the clock was laid out for the riders on stage three of the 2019 Volta ao Algarve, with some fast times expected.
In the flurry of early riders off of the start ramp, Josef Cerny (CCC Team) went fastest with a time of 25-39, before Mads Pedersen and Irish champion Ryan Mullen (both Trek-Segafredo) beat that time with 25-09 and 24-41 respectively.
Any hopes of a win for Mullen were dashed not long after however, with former Belgian champion Yves Lampaert taking three seconds out of him with a time of 24-41.
Groupama-FDJ’s new signing Stefan Küng then looked like he could deliver a maiden victory for the French team, beating Lampaert to the hotseat by five seconds.
With the overall favourites now beginning to take to the course, Küng looked to have a good chance in holding on to take the win.
Søren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb) came closest to beating Küng at just two seconds short, but none of the other overall hopefuls could really muster a challenge in earnest on the stage win.
However, Kragh Andersen’s time meant he would make a jump on GC, starting the stage in sixth and moving up to fourth overall following disappointing rides from some of those above him.
Sky pair David de la Cruz and Wout Poels both finished at 53 seconds down to the stage winner, with Sam Oomen further back at 1-20.
Enric Mas (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) also lost a chunk of time, but did enough to leave him in third place at 31 seconds to overall leader Pogacar.
Pogacar put in and impressive ride to extend his overall lead, but will face a final test in the mountains on stage five on Sunday.
Beforehand however, the peloton will tackle what should be a sprint day, with two small categorised climbs on a 198.3km route from Albufeira to Tavira on Saturday’s stage two.
Volta ao Algrave 2019, stage three: Lagoa to Lagoa (20.3km, ITT)
1. Stefan Küng (Sui) Groupama-FDJ, in 24-33
2. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb, at 2 seconds
3. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-Quick-Step, at 5s
4. Ryan Mullen (Irl) Trek-Segafredo, at 8s
5. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, at 17s
6. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 32s
7. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo, at 36s
8. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Sky, at same time
9. Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin, at 42s
10. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck-Quick-Step, at 43s
General classification after stage three
1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, in 10-16-14
2. Enric Mas (Esp) Deceuninck-Quick-Step, at 31 seconds
3. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb, at 36s
4. Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky, at 37s
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