Algarve: Kung wins stage 4 TT; Pogacar defends lead

Kung captures first victory with his new team Groupama-FDJ. Pogacar is up to the task of maintaining GC lead in pivotal time trial stage.

Swiss time trial champion Stefan Kung (Groupama-FDJ) won the Volta ao Algarve’s stage 3 time trial Friday.

“I am very proud to wear this great jersey, very happy with my new team and to celebrate this victory with them,” said Kung, who moved to FDJ this off-season after four years with BMC Racing.

He sped through the 20-kilometer course around Lagos, Portugal at an average speed of 49.6kph, stopping the clock at 24:33, two seconds ahead of second place, Soren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb). Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) was third, five seconds back.

Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) put in a strong effort to defend the overall lead he had after winning stage 2. The 20-year-old Slovenian was fifth on the day. Of the GC riders, only Kragh Andersen gained time on him in Friday’s stage.

“I wasn’t expecting it, but I’m very happy,” said Pogacar. “The result is a reward for the careful preparation that went into this time trial, from studying the route and the specific directions from my sports directors over the radio. I gave it 100 percent, I made the best use of my energy and obtained this nice result.”

Barring an uncontrollable breakaway, Pogacar should be able to hold his GC lead through Saturday’s stage 4, which is a lumpy ride from Albufeira to Tavira. The 198.3km route features only two minor categorized climbs.

He is 31 seconds ahead of another up-and-comer, Deceuninck-Quick-Step’s Enric Mas, who is 24. Kragh Andersen is third, 36 seconds behind in the overall.

Sunday’s final stage may prove decisive as it ends atop Alto de Malhao, a steep 2.8km finish climb.