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Volta ao Algarve stage 4: Remco Evenepoel crushes TT, takes GC lead

Evenepoel takes dominant win over Stefan Küng and Ethan Hayter, secures control of GC ahead of final stage.

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Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) dominated the stage 4 time trial of Volta ao Algarve 2022, securing a huge lead in the general classification.

Evenepoel put 58 seconds into European champion Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) who had held the top spot by a decent margin. Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) was third-fastest on the 32km course.

The overall leader at the start of the day, David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) did put in a very respectable ride but was unable to stay in touch with some of the big powerhouses with the talented climber managing a top 10 losing almost two minutes.

The fourth stage of the Volta ao Algarve began in Vila Real de Santo António before taking on the 32.2km route to finish in the town of Tavira.

For modern cycling, the distance of this time trial is extremely long. Gone are the days of 50+km tests against the clock.

Early on in the stage, it was Portuguese time trial star Rafael Reis of Glassdrive-Q8-Anicolor who held a lead of just three-tenths of a second over Australian rider Jay Vine (Alpecin-Fenix).

The main surprise though was that Kasper Asgreen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) was unable to beat either rider despite leading at the two time checks during his ride. He didn’t stay up in the podium spots for long either as the Danish rider continued to recover from illness.

Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) took over the lead shortly after live pictures, putting just under a second into Reis. But he didn’t lead for long. 22-year-old neopro Daan Hoole (Trek-Segafredo) put 1:47 seconds over Thomas.

But it was the big guns that started later in the day that really showed how fast you could go on this course.

Firstly, it was the European time trial champion Küng putting just under 40 seconds into the then leader, Hoole.

Norwegian national champion Tobias Foss (Jumbo-Visma) also put in a solid ride, slotting nicely between Küng and Hoole. Foss had dropped out of the general classification due to his crash with Colombian road race champion Sergio Higuita (Bora-Hansgrohe) on stage two.

But it was the superstar that is Evenepoel who was the dominant force on the road with the 22-year-old Belgian putting over 50 seconds into Küng at the second split.

And that amazing gap continued at the finish with Evenepoel taking the win by 58 seconds over the Swiss star time trialer.

Hayter closed out the podium on the day with Brandon McNulty (UAE Emirates) from Phoenix, Arizona managing to take fifth on the day.

Evenepoel goes into the final stage with a gap of 1:06 over Hayter with McNulty in third at 1:25.

But stage five of the Volta ao Algarve isn’t a straightforward sprint stage, the 173km route between Lagoa and Alto do Malhão is very hilly with a punchy 2.6km climb to the finish with a 9.5 percent average gradient.

Volta ao Algarve stage 4:

  1. Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): 37:49
  2. Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ): +0:58
  3. Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers): +1:06

Volta ao Algarve stage 4:

  1. Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): 15:20:01
  2. Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ): +1:06
  3. Brandon McNulty (UAE Emirates): +1:25