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Algarve, stage 4: Groenewegen wins for second time, Thomas retains GC

Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) sprinted to victory on the fourth stage of the Volta ao Algarve in Tavira on Saturday over Bora-Hangrohe’s Matteo Pelucchi and John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo).

LottoNL-Jumbo’s leadout train is dialed, as Groenewegen entered the final 500-meter finishing straight with two teammates in front of him. Many of the other sprinters were alone or had one teammate left. The Dutchman began his sprint from the pole position and easily took the stage win. It is his second victory of the race, after he also won the opening stage on Wednesday.

Geraint Thomas (Sky) kept his lead in the general classification over his teammate Michal Kwiatkowski, who won the second stage of the race. The Pole is 19 seconds back of Thomas. Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) is third in the general classification at 32 seconds.

The final stage of the race on Sunday has five categorized climbs on the route, including a final 3-kilometer ascent to the finish. The final climb includes ramps of up to 10-percent, so the final GC is far from confirmed.

Stage 4, Top 10

  • 1. Dylan Groenewegen, (NED) TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, in 4:33:49
  • 2. Matteo Pelucchi, (ITA) BORA – HANSGROHE, s.t.
  • 3. John Degenkolb, (GER) TREK – SEGAFREDO, s.t./li>
  • 4. Florian Senechal, (FRA) QUICK – STEP FLOORS, s.t.
  • 5. Jurgen Roelandts, (BEL) BMC RACING TEAM, s.t.
  • 6. Timothy Dupont, (BEL) WANTY – GROUPE GOBERT, s.t.
  • 7. Hugo Hofstetter, (FRA) COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS, s.t.
  • 8. Jasper De Buyst, (BEL) LOTTO SOUDAL, s.t.
  • 9. Loïc Vliegen, (BEL) BMC RACING TEAM, s.t.
  • 10. Michal Kwiatkowski, (POL) TEAM SKY, s.t.

Top-10 overall

  • 1. Geraint Thomas, (GBR) TEAM SKY, in 14:35:50
  • 2. Michal Kwiatkowski, (POL) TEAM SKY, at 00:19
  • 3. Nelson Oliveira, (POR) MOVISTAR TEAM, at 00:32
  • 4. Bob Jungels, (LUX) QUICK – STEP FLOORS, at 00:52
  • 5. Tejay Van Garderen, (USA) BMC RACING TEAM, at 00:53
  • 6. Bauke Mollema, (NED) TREK – SEGAFREDO, at 01:01
  • 7. Jaime Roson Garcia, (ESP) MOVISTAR TEAM, at 01:18
  • 8. Maximilian Schachmann, (GER) QUICK – STEP FLOORS, at 01:19
  • 9. Felix Grossschartner, (AUT) BORA – HANSGROHE, at 01:20
  • 10. Vasil Kiryienka, (BLR) TEAM SKY, at 01:24

The fourth stage of Volta ao Algarve in Portugal traveled 199.2 kilometers from Almodvar to Tavira. The stage was a mostly rolling downhill route with only two cat. 4 climbs for the riders to tackle. However, a small uncategorized climb with 20 kilometers to go, looked to spark up the finale and give riders a chance to disrupt what should be a day for the sprinters.

A breakaway of six riders formed a mere seven kilometers into the stage and included American Ben King (Dimension Data), who began the stage leading the King of the Mountains’ classification. Joining King were Rory Sutherland (UAE Team Emirates), Julen Amezqueta (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Joao Rodrigues (W52-FC Porto), Alexander Grigoryev (Sporting Clube de Portugal-Tavira), and Bruno Silva (Efapel).

The six riders would stay together until they hit the uncategorized climb with 20 kilometers to go. Silva could not hold the pace in the group and would be dropped on the climb. Meanwhile, Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) attacked hard out of the peloton. He was marked by Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing) and Guillaume Bonnafond (Cofidis). Movistar’s Jasha Sutterlin would bridge just after the climb to make it four chasers. The peloton led by the team’s of the sprinters — FDJ, Lotto Soudal, and LottoNL-Jumbo — were around a minute back of the leaders.

Silva would try to stay with Gilbert and company as they rode past, but was unable to hold the pace. His legs were clearly fried from being in the breakaway all day. The junction between the chase group and the leaders was made with nine kilometers remaining, but the peloton was right behind. The lead group would sit just off the front of the peloton for a few kilometers, before it was finally all together with three kilometers to go.

Trek-Segafredo came to the fore with two riders in the final kilometer, but they had lost their main sprinter Degenkolb. The final right-hand turn came with around 500 meters to go and LottoNL-Jumbo was in prime position. Two riders sat in front of Groenewegen. The Dutch fast-man had no trouble at all launching his sprint to the line and won the stage by over a bike length. Pelucchi finished second with Degenkolb, who opted to follow Groenewegen in the run to the line instead of his teammates, rounded out the podium.

There was no change in the general classification with Thomas still holding the yellow leader’s jersey. Sunday’s final stage should create excitement with a final three-kilometer ramp to the finish. Thomas will have to be attentive to the attacks that are sure to come.

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