Ben King consolidated his position in the King of the Mountains jersey at the Volta ao Algarve with an excellent performance in the breakaway, picking valuable points on offer in a stage won by Dylan Groenewegen.
As expected the day resulted in a bunch sprint which saw Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) victorious in Tavira, sealing his second stage win of this year’s race. He finished ahead of Matteo Pelucchi (Bora-hansgrohe) and John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) who was third.
King, who backed up his strong performance in gaining the blue jersey with a very good time trial in stage 3, was among 5 others who attacked after just 4 kilometres, swiftly opening up a gap on the peloton of over 3 minutes.
The American was first through the category 4 climb at the 98.3km mark in Neves picking up valuable points in his battle with Joao Rodriguezs (W52), and repeated that at Santa Marta after 121km.
The 199.2km stage was the the longest of the race and the breakaway held their advantage until just 8km to go when 3 riders managed to bridge across to the leaders. It all came together with less than 3 km to go as the teams looked to put their respective sprinters into position for the sprint, won by the Belgian.
Geraint Thomas retains his position leading the general classification while Louis Meintjes remains our best-placed rider in 18th place overall with Sunday’s final stage (173.5km) to come.
Ben King – Rider
“It was good to get in the break again today and pick up a few more Mountains points. It was a pretty long day out at almost 200km so when the peloton started to chase they were able to close the gap quite quickly, which I was okay with after taking all the KOM points already. When the gap got down to a minute, the peloton then kind of just held us there for about 20km. The Portuguese guys in the break started pulling pretty hard then so I continued to roll through with them. At just under 10km to go another group came across to us and they were going for it, so we jumped in with them and I started to wonder if I had another sprint left in me. We ended up getting caught just inside 3km to go but it was still a good day out.”