The Volta ao Agarve takes place from the 14th – 18 February and the Portuguese UCI 2.HC race will be the first race of the season for both Louis Meintjes and Edvald Boasson Hagen.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka is all set for the 44th edition Volta as Alagarve. The 5-stage race offers something for all rider types with 2 sprint stages, a mountain summit finish on stage 2, a 20km individual time trial on stage 3 and the final stage ends with a short sharp climb for the puncheurs.
Our African Team will have a good team suited for the parcours, though it will be the season opening race for 2 of our leaders, Louis Meintjes and Edvald Boasson Hagen. Making up the remainder of our Algarve roster will be the majority of our Vuelta Valencia line-up from 2 weeks ago, Scott Thwaites, Igor Anton, Serge Pauwels and Johann van Zyl with Ben King being the only other new addition. Algarve will also be the first race of the season for our American climber.
In terms of race goals, our African Team will initially be looking for a stage win. On paper, the time trial and sprint stages suit Boasson Hagen, but not only is Algarve his first race of the season, it is also the first outing for our Norwegian star since a minor off-season operation. Meintjes starts his season off after a block of altitude training in Lesotho, the stage 2 summit finish could still be to his liking. On their day, Thwaites, Anton and Pauwels could all feature at the business end of a stage.
Bingen Fernandez – Sport Director
We are looking forward to racing at Volta ao Algarve once again. Usually Portugal has pleasant weather in comparison to the rest of Europe at this time of the year. The course is quite diverse this year, for sure it will be an interesting race. We have Edvald and Louis here to start their season, it will be good to see how they are feeling as they get into the rhythm of racing once again. Realistically, we need to look at each stage separately and see what our best option is for that day. To win a stage is always a goal for us at any race.