Earlier in the opening phase of the almost 170-kilometer stage, nine riders formed the breakaway but, as all signs were pointing to the climbers and GC contenders battle to come, the race was kept under control.
The escapees gained a maximum advantage of only two minutes 30 seconds and riders from the breakaway were starting to be caught by the peloton inside last 30 kilometers.
From there, Matteo Trentin decided to launch an attack, which was quickly neutralized by the bunch before the group split when they started climbing the Malhão for the first time. Shortly after with a reduced bunch coming back together, the last rider from the breakaway was caught with 16 kilometers to go.
From the beginning of the final ascent CCC Team was positioned well towards the front of the reduced bunch with Michael Schar, Greg Van Avermaet, Matteo Trentin and Simon Geschke all there.
After a solid display of teamwork, Geschke was looking strong following the moves in the final kilometer and he was eventually the team’s first rider across the line finishing sixth behind stage winner, Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team). The German rider also moved into a solid ninth place in the General Classification.
Van Avermaet tested his legs and for the second time in a row showed his strong – just changing as close to another solid early season form as he was able to keep up with pace set by the climbers on the mountain top finish.
Quotes From The Finish Line:
For me, it was really important not to lose time today because I think that I can do a good time trial and it would be nice to finish this week with a top 10 result in the GC. Today, the team protected me and Greg very well and now we are both in good positions overall, I’m in the top 10 and he is 13th so, for now, we can be happy. I tried to stay with the best guys today on the last hill *but, unfortunately, I had to let go in last 500 meters however I am actually happy with that 6th place. I’m looking forward to tomorrow as two years ago I did a good TT and I hope I’ll have those the legs tomorrow as well.
Greg Van Avermaet:
The team did great work today on the approach to the last climbs. In the end, we still had Michi and Matteo there as we reached the foot of Malhão for the second time. Me and Simon were perfectly positioned and I tried to do a good climb in the last kilometers. From the first ascent, I knew it was going to be hard for me again but I just wanted to do a good effort and see where I came out.
Overall, I am super happy with my condition but I’m maybe just a bit disappointed that I didn’t find a good stage for me here in Algarve. However the most important goals are coming in the next week so I’m looking forward to them.
Volta ao Algarve
Stage 3: Albufeira > Alto do Malhão, 169.7km
Top 3: 1. Miguel Angel Lopez (AST), 2. Dan Martin (Israel), 3. Remco Evenepoel (DQT)
CCC Team Top 3: 6. Simon Geschke, 15. Greg Van Avermaet, 43. Michael Schär