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A Week of Aggressive Racing at Volta ao Algarve



Volta ao Algarve is a 5 day-stage race taking place on the beautiful roads in Southern Portugal. As always the race was headlined by some of the sport’s biggest names such as Evenepoel, van Aert, Pidcock, Martinez and Healy.


With the unfortunate crash of the team’s sprinter Alberto Dainese the week before the race, plans had to be adjusted. Stages 1 and 3 were sprint finishes for Matteo Trentin and Marius Mayrhofer, GC hopes lay with Swiss climber Yannis Voisard and the team’s best card to play for the Time Trial was Arthur Kluckers. These four riders were supported by Luc Wirtgen, Swedish Champion Lucas Eriksson and former Swiss Champion Robin Froidevaux. Seven riders supported by no less than 17 staff members.

 

In the Background: Men and Women at Work

 

Volta ao Algarve offers the luxury of a single hotel for the entire race. The team is based in Albufeira, host city of the fourth stage, and can enjoy the simple but rare comfort of not packing and moving every day. 


The mechanics’ routine is well-organized: checking bikes in the morning at the hotel, placing them on the roofracks, checking them again before the start, following the race in a race car and washing the bikes in the evening.


Soigneurs’ morning tasks are split between Pedro (rice cakes and other food for riders, und lunch for staff), Peter and Gerardo (bidons) and Gaspar (preparation of cars). During the stage, they all cover feed zones along the route, before giving massages in the evening.



The race marks the debuts of two new staff members: Thomas and Bram, the team cooks. Both spend their days preparing delicious dishes in the hotel kitchen for riders, under the supervision of Ainhoa, one of the team nutritionists.




The sporting side is of course not left aside with the Head of Sports, two Sports Directors and a coach working on strategies and guiding riders throughout the week.

 

In the Sportlights: Aggressive riding and promising results



Stage 1 - Portimao – Lagos (200.8km)


The stage starts from the Portimao harbour where many fans are buzzing around buses, looking for autographs and photos of the big stars and local riders.

The day’s hopes are pinned on Matteo, who’s best suited for the expected sprint finale. Wind is strong and riders stay well-protected in the peloton until the final kilometers. The pace is high, leadouts are forming and the sprint is launched, unfortunately without Matteo who lost Robin’s wheel and has to settle for a top-20.


Stage 2 - Lagoa - Alto da Foia (171.9km)


The second stage is an affair for the GC riders, with a finish on top of Alto da Foia and its 1,000 meters of elevation. 180km, some rain and wind are on the menu. A 7-men breakaway opens the road and the last fugitive is caught with 3km to go, while the peloton has gotten smaller and smaller in the last 15 kilometers of the stage. After a strong performance on the climb, Yannis crosses the line in 12th, 20’’ from winner Daniel Martinez, on a foggy and windy Alto do Foia.



Space is rare there so riders have to prolong their day with an extra 7km to the bus, where they’ll find a hot shower and (late) lunch. The way to the hotel is one hour, but a massage will do well when back in the rooms.



Stage 3 - Vila Real Santo Antonio - Tavira (192.2km)

 

Marius is given the chance to prove himself in the sprint, and the rest of the team is very committed to help him deliver a good performance. With 2 kms to go, the Tudor Pro Cycling Team makes a first appearance with the train made up of Matteo followed by Robin. The sprint is launched with 250m to the finish line and Marius is ideally placed in the wheel of Gerben Thijssen. He comes out in the last 75m and comes short to the win by a few centimeters only behind Wout Van Aert and Rui Oliveira.


“I got a perfect leadout. It is disappointing to only finish in third place. I really wanted to take the first win for myself and for the Team this year. It is a pity we missed out today.”




Stage 4 - Albufeira – Albufeira (ITT, 22km)

 

Today’s time trial takes place 5kms away from our hotel. Despite being so close, the team bus and the mechanics truck leave at 8:00am to set up the best possible paddock for the warmup. Between the bus and the truck, four home trainers are placed.



Robin is the first rider starting the stage, followed by Matteo, Marius and Arthur. Riders follow a very precise schedule from the last pre-race meal and snack, to the moment when they start their warm up which consists of a precise wattage ramp up plan.

Matteo scores the best intermediate time, soon improved by Arthur who lays on the ground for a couple of minutes, exhausted after his 28’18’’ effort. Matteo laughs and says : “You didn’t even let me enjoy the hot seat, man!”






Arthur heads to the hot seat, where he stays until Isaac del Toro crosses the finish line. Arthur eventually ends the day in 14th place, happy with his performance. Matteo also finishes in the Top-20. Yannis, with the GC in mind, needed to lose as little time as possible and keeps his 13th place overall, ahead of the final hard stage.

 

Stage 5 - Faro - Alto do Malhao (165.8km)

 


Only 14 seconds separate Yannis from the top-10 in GC when starting the day in Faro. The day plan is simple: send at least one rider in the breakaway to help Yannis once the peloton breaks down in the multiple climbs. A 20-man breakaway forms around kilometer 60 with Marius who only gets caught in the final kilometers. Yannis keeps up with the leading group until 3km to go and crosses the line in 14th. He keeps his 13th place in the GC, happy with his solid week of racing. “Top-10 was complicated ahead of the last stage, but I am really happy with my 13th place among these competitors. It is promising!”

 

 

Main Results

 

  • Maris Mayrhofer, 3rd, Stage 3

  • Arthur Kluckers, 14th, Stage 4 (ITT)

  • Yannis Voisard, 13th, General Classification

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