Volta ao Algarve #5: King and Boasson Hagen show fighting spirit

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The final stage of the Volta ao Algarve was won by local rider, Amaro Antunes (W52/FC Porto) with Vicente Garcia (Louletano) taking 2nd and Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal) placing 3rd. Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) was able to do enough today to keep his yellow jersey, winning the race overall.

The final stage of the Volta ao Algarve was a tough 179km course that was ever undulating. The stage got off to an extremely fast start with numerous attacks, but it wasn’t until close on 60km were completed before a break went clear. 21 riders managed to ride off the front of the peloton and Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka had Ben King present in the move.

The peloton was reluctant to give such a big group much of a gap, but the leaders weren’t really hanging around so this made for a very fast and difficult stage. As we entered the final half of the stage, the climbs came more frequently and King was able to show his strength. As the peloton got to within a minute of the escape group with 20km to go, King had to up the tempo.

Strangely there were not many riders in the break willing to up the work rate with our American climber and so with 14km to go, King was able to ride them all off his wheel. 6 riders would came back to King on the descent toward the final climb of the stage which began with 3km to go. The peloton, which at this point was only 40 riders strong, was right on the tails of King and co. and the catch was inevitable.

King gave one last push as the road went upward but the select group of favourites quickly reeled him in. Edvald Boasson Hagen was hanging tough in this select group, even though the 8% gradient climb seemed a bit too tough on paper for our Norwegian champion. As the race was whittled down to just 12 riders, Boasson Hagen was still present until Antunes launched his attack. The reaction saw Boasson Hagen distanced with 1km to go, eventually ending the stage in 14th. Valiant efforts from both King and Boasson Hagen on a difficult day.

Alex Sans Vega – Sport Director
It was the last stage in Algarve today, it was a hilly stage and we wanted to be part of the game. Our plan was to put Ben in the break. The rest of the team had to help him to make the plan successful. For the final we were looking after Edvald and Scott. After the first 60km of very fast racing, Ben got into the break of 21 riders, until 20km to go and then he was even solo for a few kilometers. It all came together on the last climb, we had Edvald and Scott there like we had hoped but unfortunately Scott had a mechanical at the start of the climb. Edvald did his best to finish 14th so we gave the stage our all and can only be happy with how it went.