Volta ao Algarve Stage 4 Preview; Almodôvar -> Tavira

Today’s Recap

I did say Tony Martin wouldn’t win, but it wasn’t Roglic who came home in first. Instead, it was Castroviejo who produced an excellent display in his fancy new European Champions jersey.

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(I don’t have a picture of that yet so this will do!)

GC wise, Roglic now takes the yellow jersey and is 22 seconds ahead of Kwiatkowski and 36 ahead of Castroviejo going into the final 2 stages. Let’s have a look at what’s in store for the riders tomorrow.

The Route

Longest stage of the race and a bit of an undulating course but with a relatively flat finish.

Print

There are no real major obstacles out on course so if the bunch wants to keep this one together for a sprint they should be able to.

There is some pesky road furniture in the final 3km though!

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First of all they have to contend with a roundabout just inside 3km from home. Fortunately, it appears to be relatively wide and they travel straight on so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

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Next, they’ll take a left at a roundabout with approximately 1.3km to go.

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Again, this shouldn’t be too bad but it is fairly tight. The race will definitely be strung out coming out of it.

From there it is under the Flamme Rouge and on to the next obstacle; another roundabout. This time though it seems much trickier, with the roundabout being more of a stretched out oval shape, making the turn a lot sharper and sudden.

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They aren’t out of the woods just yet though as they still have to tackle one final corner at 400m to go.

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Quite sharp, isn’t it?!

Hopefully they’ve improved the road surface around the inside of the corner, otherwise there might be some carnage.

Once round the corner, it will be a straight dash to the line!

Sprint Contenders

We’ll have similar riders that were involved on stage 1.

Can anyone beat the man who I forgot to mention for that stage; Fernando Gaviria? The Colombian was very impressive like he almost always seems to be. In Richeze he has a great lead-out man and the pair seem to have great chemistry out on the road. A worthy favourite.

Greipel was disappointed after his second on stage 1. He just didn’t seem to have the speed to match Gaviria on that day. With a very strong lead-out here, there is a good chance that he will be positioned better this time round and then we might get an interesting sprint. However, as I mentioned in my stage 1 preview, he can go missing if things get messy but he is a fighter so I’m sure he’ll be there or thereabouts.

Another rider who is a fighter is Bouhanni. He did well to get up for third place on the first stage, considering he had a fairly poor Valenciana in which he crashed. Fully fit now, he won’t want to go much longer without a win this season.

Groenewegen has promised a lot this season so far, but has failed to stand on the top step of the podium. The team still seems to be getting his lead-out sorted, they were awful on stage 1 and it was remarkable that the Dutchman was placed anywhere near the front. I’m not so sure if they’ll get that lucky again.

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After selecting him for stage 1, Demare managed to get a bit lost and his lead-out split in two, on that day. I expect them to not make the same mistake again. The team was very well-drilled in Besseges and the Frenchman himself is in great form; he finished 6th in the TT today! Not making the podium will be a disappointment.

Cavendish seemed to be leading out Boasson Hagen on stage 1, sitting up with around 150m to go. I’m not sure what the plan was there; maybe Cavendish wasn’t well or they were trying to get EBH into the best possible GC position? With EBH nowhere near now, I think Cav might give it a nudge tomorrow.

Arguably Degenkolhas the best train here on paper. He didn’t take advantage of it on stage 1, as they seemed unsure of their best order. Have they managed to correct that for here?

Prediction

They messed up on stage 1 and his result in today’s TT clearly show that he’s going very, very well at the moment…

Demare to win!

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Thanks as always for reading. Who do you think takes this sprint fest? Anyway,

Those were My Two Spokes Worth.

 

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