Dan Martin leads squad in a hard test of climbing, sprints and time trial
Bem Vindo a Portugal! Welcome to Portugal! After our introduction to the Portuguese climbs at the Clasica de Almeria on Sunday, we now move on with a new squad to the Volta ao Algarve, part of the UCI’s new Pro Series. The guys will be looking to do as well as they can on the varied course while honing their skills for the upcoming Spring Classics.
Dan Martin will be at the head of the time, looking to continue his progression from Valenciana, where he finished fourth on two difficult mountain stages and taking fourth in GC. Fourth places in the Spanish race were popular with the team, with Davide Cimolai finishing so in the bunch sprint of stage three. He will be looking to improve on that at the two sprint stages in Portugal.
Dan and Davide will be ably supported by Mads Wurtz Schmidt, Jenthe Biermans, Reto Hollenstein and Guillaume Boivin, with Nils Politt also there to keep on honing his form for the Classics.
“We have the same Algarve as every year: two sprints, two uphill finishes and one ITT. What is new this year is that the ITT is on the last day. We will go with Dan Martin for a good GC and Cimolai will be our sprinter. Most of our riders are here to prepare for the Classics,” said DS Dirk Demol.
“We have a good strong team at the start and will look day to day.”
Cimo will get his first chance on the opening stage, which runs 195.6 km from Portimao to Lagos. There are a few bumps along the way, but there will be a bunch sprint at the end.
The second stage will be one for Dan, 183 km from Sagres to Fola, with three ranked climbs along the way, before ending up atop the 7.5km climb up the Cat.1 Fola.
Back to Cimo for stage 3, which covers just over 200 km. There are two small climbs in the first third of the way from Faro, with a slightly lumpy run-in to the sprint finish in Tavira.
After this restful day for Dan, he will be in action again on Stage 4. The shortest road stage at not quite 170 km, it is also the Queen Stage. After leaving Albufeira, the peloton takes on four Cat. 3 and 2 climbs before climbing up on gradients up to 10.3% to the finish at Malhao.
The race ends the next day with a lumpy 20.3km individual time trial, starting and finishing in Lagoa.
Line-up Israel Start-Up Nation:
Mads Wurtz Schmidt