Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) powered through the final three-kilometer climb to the finish to take the stage win and the overall title on the final day of the Volta ao Algarve in Malhão. The Pole, who won the second stage of the race as well, attacked with two kilometers remaining and held off the chasers to take the victory.
Ruben Guerreiro (Trek-Segafredo) finished second on the stage, a few seconds behind Kwiatkowski, with Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data) rounding out the podium.
“I think it’s a little bit unexpected that I’m in such good shape as I didn’t expect that I could climb so well here and I didn’t spend time here beforehand to get used to the country,” Kwiatkowski said. “I won overall, I won this amazing stage on the Malhão, G [ed. Geraint Thomas] finished second and I won the points jersey.
“Volta ao Algarve was always one of my favorite races to prepare yourself for the season and that’s how it was — good weather, good hard racing, and I think everyone enjoyed how Team Sky rode.
Sunday’s final stage at the Volta ao Algarve traveled 173.5 kilometers from Faro to Malhão. The route had five categorized climbs, including the final three-kilometer kicker to the finish. A large group of some 31 riders escaped after 15 kilometers. The breakaway group opened over a five-minute gap to the peloton by the midpoint of the stage, but soon the infighting began.
With 50 kilometers to go, Lukas Postlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) attacked the first time up the finishing climb and Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors) joined him on the descent. Stybar would drop Posltberger on the penultimate climb of the stage and enter the finishing climb alone. However, his lead over the charging peloton was a mere 43 seconds.
Kwiatkowski attacked with two kilometers to go, as the group had thinned greatly. He flew past Stybar to take the stage win and the overall victory. He began the stage second in the general classification, 19 seconds down on his teammate, Geraint Thomas. Thomas didn’t have the legs to contend with the leaders on the final climb.
Although, Thomas still finished second overall, 1:31 behind Kwiatkowski. American Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing), who started the day sitting fifth overall, had a great final climb to the finish to move onto the final podium.
Stage 5, Top 10
- 1. Michal Kwiatkowski, TEAM SKY, in 04:18:02
- 2. Ruben Guerreiro, TREK – SEGAFREDO, at 0:04
- 3. Serge Pauwels, DIMENSION DATA, at 0:08
- 4. Stefan Kung, BMC RACING TEAM, at 0:13
- 5. Cesare Benedtti, BORA – HANSGROHE, at 0:15
- 6. Dion Smith, WANTY – GROUPE GOBERT, at 0:17
- 7. Simon Geshke, TEAM SUNWEB, at 0:17
- 8. Julen Amezqueta, CAJA RURAL – SEGUROS RGA, at 0:23
- 9. Ben Swift, UAE-TEAM EMIRATES, at 0:29
- 10. Frederik Backaert, WANTY – GROUPE GOBERT, at 0:35
- 1. Michal Kwiatkowski, TEAM SKY, in 18:54:11
- 2. Geraint Thomas, TEAM SKY, at 1:31
- 3. Tejay Van Garderen, BMC RACING TEAM, at 2:16
- 4. Bauke Mollema, TREK – SEGAFREDO, at 2:22
- 5. Bob Jungels, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, at 2:33
- 6. Jaime Roson, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 2:49
- 7. Maximilian Schachmann, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, at 2:50
- 8. Serge Pauwels, DIMENSION DATA, at 2:50
- 9. Felix Grosschartner, BORA – HANSGROHE, at 2:51
- 10. Nelson Oliveira, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 2:54