In an impressive start to his 2017 season, Sean McKenna (An Post-Chain Reaction Cycles) won both intermediate sprints on the opening stage of the Volta ao Alentejo (UCI 2.1) after making it into the day’s breakaway.
Stage one of the five-day race took the riders from Portalegre to Castelo de Vide with a number of categorised climbs towards the end of the 158-kilometre stage.
McKenna managed to get clear with one other rider – Canadian Matteo Dal-Cin (Rally Cycling) – and the duo gained a maximum lead of 10 minutes with the Irish rider winning the two meta volantes (intermediate sprints) en route.
However, the peloton put down the hammer and the pair were caught with 57 kilometres remaining. On the hilly finale to the stage, the lead group was reduced to just 28 riders. Rinaldo Nocentini (Sporting-Tavira) won the stage ahead of Eduard Prades (Caja Rual-Seguros RGA) and Carlos Barbero (Movistar Team).
McKenna finished in a large group nearly twenty minutes down and sits in 6th position in the Points competition. Eddie Dunbar was the best of the Irish, finishing in the lead group and is in 27th place on GC, 10″ down on Nocentini.
The race continues today with a 171.3-kilometre stage from Monforte to Portel with just one categorised climb along the way.