Volta ao Algarve Stage 3: Kwiatkowski, Martin 10th and 11th on Alto do Malhao
As expected, the win of 193km Volta Algarve Stage 3 came down to who had the best legs on Category 2 Alto do Malhao for the second and final time of the stage.
The winner was Sergio Henao (Sky ProCycling), with Rui Costa (Movistar) finishing 2nd, and Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) behind in 3rd. Henao and Costa attacked inside 2km of the 2.5km summit finish.
OPQS led the peloton going into the final climb, and it was Michal Kwiatkowski and Tony Martin of OPQS who were able to finish with the select group. Kwiatkowski was 10th, 12" back, and Martin was 11th, 18" back from the stage winner. Minimizing seconds lost could play crucial in the 34.8km time trial of Stage 4 tomorrow, where riders such as Kwiatkowski, and UCI World TT Champion Tony Martin hope to get a good result for the GC.
Sylvain Chavanel was an aggressor earlier in the stage, making a 10 rider break. That break was reduced to five, and the remainder of the break was caught within the final 4km.
"Today it was a really hard day," Sports Director Tom Steels said. "Only the strongest survived and fortunately Tony and Michal were among them. The gap between our two guys and the top of the classification is not that much. Michal gained also 3 seconds in an intermediate sprint during the race. Also, Chavanel did a great job in the breakaway. The thing is, that in the breakaway, they never really collaborated and Chava struggled a lot at the beginning to make the gap."
"Now we are in good position to try to win this race," Steels continued. "The TT is long and difficult, which is perfect for our guys. As usual there will be a lot of competitors, especially Westra who is a good TT specialist. Even last year he was strong at the beginning of the sesason. We will see. Tomorrow morning we will make a recon, and then we will give all to get a good result."