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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, February 24, 2019

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Volta ao Algarve stage four race reports

We posted the organizer's report with the results.

Stage winner Dylan Groenewegen's Jumbo-Visma team sent me this:

Dylan Groenewegen has won the fourth stage in the Volta ao Algarve with an impressive display of power. In Tavira, the leader of Team Jumbo-Visma sprinted to his second win of the season after a superb lead out. It is also the second victory of Team Jumbo-Visma this year.

Dylan Groenewegen

Dylan Groenewegen wins Algarve stage four.

It was an eventful final of the stage for the team of Nico Verhoeven and Grischa Niermann. At eight kilometres from the finish, GC rider Neilson Powless punctured, after which Groenewegen also faced mechanical problems. He broke a spoke in his front wheel. The entire team brought them back quickly, after which Mike Teunissen launched his sprinter with a long lead out.

“I am very pleased with this result. In the first stage we were very unlucky because of the crash, but today we took revenge”, the Dutchman said. “It was a stressful final, because I had problems with my spoke eight kilometres from the finish. It was important not to panic and the team quickly brought me back. My teammates were really great and the lead out was very good. This is the yellow-black lead out that we want to see. If we can do this all season, it will be a great year. I am very grateful to the boys and happy that I was able to take my second win of the season here.”

GC leader Tadej Pogacar's UAE-Team Emirates sent this report:

In the fourth stage of the Volta ao Algarve, the UAE Team Emirates celebrates two sprinters in the top ten with Jasper Philipsen in third and Simone Consonni in fifth behind winner Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma).

The stage covered 198.3km from Albufeira to Tavira, and the team’s youngsters were in front. The team took control of the race for the yellow leader’s jersey of Tadej Pogačar and to support its two young sprinters.

Tadej Pogacar

Tadej Pogacar (shown winning stage two) remains the GC leader.

Philipsen came out of the last curve to the right at 400 metres remaining. The Belgian sat on the wheel of Groenewegen, trying to match the Dutchman when he accelerated but was not able to pass the sprinter. Consonni surged back after having started a little behind.

The overall changed some due to a gap in the group in the last kilometre: Kragh Andersen and Poels gained two and seven seconds on Pogačar.
Tomorrow, the final 173.5km stage from Faro to Malhão ends with a hard climb of 3km with serious gradients.

“The day went well, the team kept everything under control,” Pogačar said. “It gave particular attention to the last 20km, when the race rhythm shot up. In the final, the group was broken up and there were some changes, but it’s important that I’m competitive tomorrow. I’m happy to have managed the stage and to have the opportunely to face the last stage in the yellow jersey, this means a lot for me and I’m enjoying a fantastic experience”.

Vuelta a Andalucia's new GC leader Jakob Fuglsang's Astana team reports on stage four:

Astana Pro Team did a perfect aggressive race at the queen 4th stage of the Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol, moving Jakob Fuglsang into the lead in the general classification of the race.

- We did a very good race, our main goal was to take the lead and we did it. At the last two climbs of the day we put Tim Wellens under a big pressure with our attacks, and also Mitchelton-Scott helped us with their attacks. It worked perfectly for us. Simon Yates was strong today, maybe I could follow his attack, but I preferred to control my closest rivals since he was out of the GC. The overall classification was our priority for today, so I just followed our plan. The team did a great job, all my teammates were so strong. In the final I had a huge help from Ion Izagirre and Pello Bilbao. We did a good downhill and had a full control over the race until the finish. I am happy to become the leader of the race. We still have one difficult day tomorrow, but in the same time we have a strong team to fight to the finish line to keep my lead, - said Jakob Fuglsang.

Immediately from the start the Kazakh team took the race under its full control, setting an impressive pace. On the second climb of the day Alto de Purche (8.9 km, 7.7%) Astana Pro Team caught the early breakaway and produced a great selection in the peloton, creating a leading group of just 30 riders.

The stage (119,9 km from Armilla to Granada) has exploded again on the third climb of the day Alto de Guejar Sierra (6.2 km, 5.1%) with a few attacks of Astana riders: Luis Leon Sanchez, Pello Bilbao, Ion Izagirre and Jakob Fuglsang all tried to attack together with a few riders of Mitchelton-Scott. Thus, at the top of the climb the leading group split in parts.

The decisive moment of the race came at the last and the hardest climb of the day Alto de Hazallanas (7.3 km, 9.6%), where the current race leader Tim Wellens dropped out from the first group, while Jakob Fuglsang could stay in front, taking a good advantage.

An attack of the 2018 Vuelta a España winner Simon Yates on the last climb brought him the victory at the fourth stage. Jakob Fuglsang, Ion Izagirre and Pello Bilbao, all staying in the chasing group, did a good job and perfectly controlled the situation. Finishing 26 seconds behind Yates, the Astana rider moved Jakob Fuglsang into the lead in the overall classification of the Vuelta a Andalucia with Ion Izagirre at second position (+0.07) and Pello Bilbao at 4th place (+0.21).

Simon Yates

Simon Yates (shown above) won the stage, but Jakob Fuglsang is the new GC leader. Sirotti photo

The final 5th stage of the Vuelta a Andalucia will be held tomorrow: 163,9 km from Otura to Alhaurín de la Torre.

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