Dan Martin crossing the finish line as winner of stage two at the Volta Ao Algarve today. The Irishman rode a textbook race and profited from brilliant by his team.
By Brian Canty
Dan Martin has won a truly brilliant stage two of the Volta Ao Algarve today, outsmarting and outsprinting a flying Primoz Roglic of Lotto-JumboNL.
The former Slovenian ski-jumping star looked to have Martin on the ropes when the two escaped the clutches of a diminished front group late in the 189–kilometre stage.
Roglic looked like he had more in reserve but a man of Martin’s class is impossible to write off and when it came to timing his jump – and go very deep, he did it to absolute perfection, crossing the line with barely the width of a tyre to spare.
The final climb to the summit finish of Alto da Foia was always going to be a showdown and with Martin’s Quick Step Floors team doing much of the work it was down to the Irishman to deliver a result.
Amaro Antunes (W52/FC Porto) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) stayed with Martin and Roglic for a spell before they tailed off under the intense pressure of the leaders.
Martin and Roglic were neck and neck all the way up the final kilometre but Martin just about had enough in his legs to get the verdict and courtesy of that he also took the race leader’s yellow jersey.
Kwiatkowski held on for third (on the stage) at 20 seconds, 13 seconds ahead of the chasing group led by Antunes.
With an 18km pan flat TT to come tomorrow, Martin is moving into terrain that will not favour him as much as it does some of the riders just behind him.
However, he said after his victory it was important that he win a stage, adding it would give him confidence for the rest of the race for the longer term goals ahead.
“We rode a perfect race, and that let me win the race today,” he said of his team, which was collecting its 12th victory of the season.
“I’ll do my best, and we’ll see the results,” he added of tomorrow’s TT during which he will wear the leader’s jersey.
“I’ve worked a lot on my position. Of course, there are other guys stronger than me, but I’m motivated.”
“It was important to win a stage, it’s good for the confidence in the next races. After winning yesterday the pressure was off, but it’s always nice to win a race.”
Of the other Irish riders in the race, Philip Deignan (Team Sky) and Ryan Mullen (Cannondale-Drapac) finished 162nd and 172nd, both in a group 21:57 down at the end of the 189.3km stage from Lagoa to Alto da Fóia.
Stage 2: Lagoa – Monchique (189.3 km)
1 Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors 4:46:35
2 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 0:00:01
3 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 0:00:21
4 Amaro Antunes (Por) W52/FC Porto 0:00:33
5 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Sporting / Tavira 0:00:33
6 Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:35
7 Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:35
8 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 0:00:36
9 Edgar Pinto (Por) LA / Metalusa Blackjack 0:00:36
10 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:46
1 Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors 9:14:56
2 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 0:00:04
3 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 0:00:26
4 Amaro Antunes (Por) W52/FC Porto 0:00:43
5 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
6 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Sporting / Tavira
7 Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:45
8 Edgar Pinto (Por) LA / Metalusa Blackjack
9 Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar Team
10 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:56