Dan Martin moves on up in second stage of Volta ao Algarve
Cycling: Rider caught out on 8km ascent by former world champ Remco Evenepoel
Remco Evenepoel of Belgium and Team Deceuninck arrives at the Volta ao Algarve stage two finish from Sagres to Alto da Fóia on Thursday. Photograph: Tim de Waele/Getty Images
Dan Martin showed improving form on the second stage of the Volta ao Algarve on Thursday, netting third place at the top of the Alto da Fóia climb. Martin was part of a small lead group which remained together at the end of the 8km ascent, but was caught out by the surge of former world champion Remco Evenepoel.
The Deceuninck-QuickStep rider made his move with about 400 metres to go, opening a solid gap and having the strength to hold off the German rider Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-hansgrohe). Martin came in two seconds behind the duo and will be frustrated that the climb’s gradient wasn’t hard enough to whittle down the list of contenders before the sprint.
He had previously triumphed at the same summit in 2017 when the bunch was more broken up.
Evenepoel is seen as one of the top young talents in cycling. He won both the road race and time trial at cycling’s junior world championships in 2018, and opted to skip the under-23 ranks in order to take up a pro contract with the Deceuninck-QuickStep squad. A sensational debut pro season saw the Belgian win the San Sebastián Classic and the Baloise Belgium Tour. He took the overall classification of the Vuelta a San Juan Internacional earlier this month.
The 20-year-old is the new race leader. Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) jumps up to fourth overall, and is two seconds behind Evenepoel.
The 2.Pro-ranked race continues on Friday with an undulating stage to Tavira. It looks destined to end in a bunch finish, but Saturday’s leg will be another selective one. It features five categorised climbs including the second-category summit finish of Malhão. Martin will hope to challenge for the victory there. The race then concludes with an individual time trial in Lagoa on Sunday.
In other news, Nicolas Roche (Team Sunweb) will get his season under way on Friday when he lines out in the three-day Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var. Each of the three stages ends with an uphill finish, giving the Team Sunweb rider a solid test of his form. He last raced in the Vuelta a España, where he placed second on a stage, led the race overall, but crashed out with a fractured kneecap.
Finally, both Eddie Dunbar (Team Ineos) and Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep) will be in action in the UAE Tour, which begins this Sunday and runs until Saturday week. Both have already shown strong form this season.
Volta ao Algarve, Portugal (2.Pro)
Stage 2, Sagres to Alto da Fóia: 1, Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quickstep) 183.9 km in 4 hours 46 mins 38 secs; 2, M Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) same time; 3, D Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) at 2 secs; 4, R Costa (UAE Team Emirates); 5, T Wellens (Lotto Soudal) both same time; 6, M Angel Lopez Moreno (Astana Pro Team) at 5 secs.
General classification after stage 2: 1, Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quickstep) 9 hours 42 mins 15 secs; 2, M Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) same time; 3, D Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) at 2 secs; 4, R Costa (UAE Team Emirates); 5, T Wellens (Lotto Soudal) both same time; 6, M Ángel López Moreno (Astana Pro Team) at 5 secs.
Friday: Ratoath BMX Spring Series round 2, Ratoath BMX track. Starts 6pm.
Sunday: 2020 Biking Blitz round 2, Ballyhoura, Limerick. Starts 9 am.
Lisburn Winter Series round 3, Antrim. Starts 11 am.