Volta ao Algarve Stage 3 Preview
Second day second Deceuninck win! Yes the Belgian squad can be quite happy that they're keeping yellow on their back as the uprising talent Remco Evenepoel took an amazing win, Evenepoel surged in the final 500 meters and took the win resisting the sprint of Schachmnn from behind, with Dan Martin third. The stage had a strong pace throughout the finishing hour, there were some attacks inclusive by Lopez but first UAE then Deceuninck with Almeida left the leading group to battle it out in a long sprint.
Positive: Evenepoel not only seems the strongest time-trialist on paper he has defended himself and attacked on the hardest stage. It's a big step for his overall bid. Schachmann and Wellens having a great performance in what was a long climb, well within the podium fight, and Figueiredo/Antunes flying the Portuguese flag inside the Top10 are great rides.
Negative: INEOS clearly had a bad day, it wasn't enough to have van Baarle not starting the race, Dennis wasn't even close and Thomas was far from his best, low chances of any overall success at this point. Grossschartner a casualty of the hard racing and João Rodrigues a victim of some badly timed bad luck.
The third stage will be the second and last opportunity for the sprinters to show their true colours. As the distance grows with over 200 Kilometers on the menu, there will be a rolling start which could facilitate a strong breakaway to be formed. A lot of the route will be next to the border with Spain, before moving inland and finally towards the sea again for a technical finish in Tavira.
It is one that the race has seen plenty times too with Dylan Groenewegen taking the last two finishes here. However this year he's not racing so a new winner will be crowned. The finish is quite technical, the main sprinters have good leadouts which may make this a complicated one with a couple of roundabout sections in the final 1300 meters and a sharp turn with 400 to go. The finish straight will also feature a little rise to 4% as the riders near the line so timing the sprint will be absolutely key.
Again the wind won't be strong, as the finish is close to the sea there may be a breeze felt that would have the finishing straight be a tailwind.
To know what to expect tomorrow you should look at the opening stage's results, there are two clearly dominant leadouts however there's a technical element in the finish again tomorrow which can lead to surprises. Relative surprises that is, but seeing how Trek behaved yesterday I am expecting them to try to move up again trying to set up Edward Theuns for a win.
That can mean the sprinters may have to depend more on themselves rather than the leadout, but we've seen some great racing and sprinting from Fabio Jakobsen who should come as the main favourite for tomorrow, he does have some fast men to have him in front even in worst case, same could be said of Elia Viviani but it doesn't look like he's carrying the same speed he was last year, so it's possible that he'll take a step back and reconsider his tactics, perhaps ride a bit more agressively.
I don't see any other team messing in the front of the peloton in the closing stages, the other sprinters will be grappling these 3 teams' wheels. Matteo Trentin is carrying a surprising sprint from stage 1, if he does have his top power at this point he's a dangerous rider with the slight uphill to the line, I would have Kristoff as the opposite but the Norwegian has been having a good season so far.
Cees Bol and Davide Cimolai are my outsiders, two powerful sprinter that can handle these technical finishes, there's Caja Rural who's having likely Jon Aberasturi as main option with a fifth place in stage 1 who has also Malucelli as possible leadout or even a second option. The other outsiders to possibly consider are the Bora boys Drucker and Laas, Daniel Hoelgaard of Uno-X and Boy/Danny van Poppel of Circus - Wanty Gobert.
⭐ Bol, Cimolai, Consonni, Aberasturi, Stuyven
I had in mind Edward Theuns to win tomorrow it's an ideal finish for him, but yesterday even with chaos settling it all came together and power was the decisive factor, and oh man how Jakobsen nailed it. He will do it again tomorrow.
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