Alberto Contador has taken the final stage win at the Volta ao Algarve while securing third place overall after a late attack on the second ascent to Alto do Malhao.
After 169km and four climbs, it was on the second ascent of the 45km loop that Contador took matters into his own hands and staged his attack.
A group of nine escapees formed in the early kilometres of the race and Tinkoff together with Movistar set a ferocious pace, working hard to haul back the breakaway.
Sergio Paulinho, Yuri Trofimov and Roberts Kiserlovski then protected Contador until the final three kilometers in a compact group, when Contador staged a solo attack and powered ahead. Fabio Aru responded but Contador went on and crossed the finish line victorious, with 20-second lead over the Italian.
“I knew I was coming to Portugal in good form,” commented Contador after the stage win. “I hadn’t raced since a number of months and on the second stage, I probably lacked a bit of energy in the final part, that’s why I lost more time than I would have lost under normal conditions.”
“For that reason, for me, today was an important day. I had the legs and I was feeling I could win. That’s why the squad worked together with Movistar and we clinched the win.”
“I’m very happy with this victory and I’d like to dedicate it to Oleg Tinkov and Tinkoff Bank for their backing and the trust they have shown through their sponsorship during the last four years. It’s, obviously, easier to win when you have that kind of support. We will keep fighting, with our sights always set on the big goal of the year, the Tour de France.”
“I’d also like to thank the whole team for their hard work at the Volta ao Algarve, some days with no payout, but today we topped it off and grabbed the victory. I’m happy I stepped on the podium and as I said, the last time I raced was at the Tour de France last year, so it’s always encouraging to debut with a victory. It boosts your confidence but at the same time we shouldn’t rest on our laurels. We have to stay concentrated and deliver,” continued Contador.
“My next goal is Paris-Nice, a race in which I last competed in 2010. I’ll be back this year and I hope I’ll be able to obtain a good result”, concluded Contador.