Late attack foils sprinters’ plans
The longest stage of the Portuguese race travelled from Faro to Tavira and had mass gallop written all over it, but the script was flipped in the last 25 kilometers to go, when six riders battled out for the bonifications at the last intermediate sprint of the day and kept on going. The small gap which they had as they exited Villa Real San Antonio ballooned to a full 25 seconds, applying some considerable pressure on the stretched out bunch.
Kasper Asgreen, Rémi Cavagna and Casper Pedersen joined forces at the front and rode as is there was no tomorrow, taking back time as the kilometers clicked away, but despite their gargantuesque effort which brought the group within reach of the attackers, the victory went to Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost), who thus extended his lead in the general classification.
But the huge work of the Soudal Quick-Step boys was not for nothing, as the large deficit to the breakaway was erased, which allowed Ilan Van Wilder – who came home with the peloton – to retain his place on the overall podium of the race ahead of the steep summit finish of Alto do Malhão.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images