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Video: Top 5 riders to watch at the Volta ao Algarve

Cycling News
February 18, 17:00,
February 18, 16:19
First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, February 19, 2014
World champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) during the team's camp on Mallorca

World champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) during the team's camp on Mallorca

  • World champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) during the team's camp on Mallorca
  • Mark Cavendish missed out on the win but his form is improving
  • Thumbs up. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) aims to hit the ground running in 2014.

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Costa, Cavendish and Contador all in Portugal

The 40th edition of the Volta ao Algarve begins this Wednesday, with Tony Martin returning to defend his title.

Last year, the race suffered from the current economic climate and organisers were forced to axe a stage, in order to keep the race running. For 2014, however, the fifth day has returned.

The number of stages isn’t the only changes to the parcours. The time trial remains, but it has been seriously shortened. At only 13.6km, it will make life a little tougher for Martin if he hopes to defend his title.

With the chance for the TT specialists to stick to their rivals all but gone, the summit finish on the Alto do Malhão is likely to be the key factor in the general classification. Sergio Henao won there last year, ahead of Rui Costa, however Sky will not be taking part in the race this year.

There are no flat days for the riders at the Volta ao Algarve, with at least on classified climb on each of the open road stages. There will be a couple of chances for the sprinters, on the first and final days. Both will be tricky, though, and they will have to keep their wits about them if they don’t want to get caught out.

Mark Cavendish will be the headline name of the sprinters. His Omega Pharma-QuickStep team have brought a strong group of riders, including Martin and last year’s second placed Michal Kwiatkowski. With so few of the top sprinters present, it could be a good opportunity to prefect the lead-out train that has been misfiring this season.

Alberto Contador finally gets his 2014 season under way in the Algarve. He delayed the beginning of his racing programme, in an attempt to peak for the Tour de France. There will be many expectant eyes on him, waiting to see if his decision was the right one.

With a number of strong riders turning up at the Portuguese race, Cyclingnews takes a look at the top 5 riders to watch.

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rastymick 5 months ago
For me, Kwiatkowski is the top favorite for this race.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Contador has won this race 2 times before and with a route such as this and a weaker field than usual he will most likely win again.
Manuel Schoel 5 months ago
What about Kwiatkowski? WIth a short time trial I see him ore of a danger than Tony Martin! He was 2nd last year with a long TT only trailing his teammate.
PCM Geek 5 months ago
Nice video report, but why is Cav flipping the bird to the camera in one shot? And why would CN chose to include such a photo? I like Cav and a shot like that of a fan favorite would tend to put him in a not so favorable light... I'm also sure that Cav isn't like that and he might have been in a situation while competing where he was under pressure and it just came out and he wouldn't want his fans to think of him like that photo depicts. I'm not offended or anything but CN, really, it's ok to leave stuff like that out (along with the f words they like to publish in some of their articles.) Stuff like that makes CN look amateurish and besides it doesn't project the image that cycling needs projecting. Especially where young fans are concerned, its not necessary for them to see or read such things. CN needs to start promoting cycling in a more positive way I think...
Nicolaj221 5 months ago
Just take a minute to relax a minute, brit.
Nicolaj221 5 months ago
Just take a minute relax a bit*
WildspokeJoe 5 months ago
I have to agree with PCM. Why have a photo of Cavendish flipping off the camera? Totally out of place. That being said, I like the preview and I hope CN continues to highlight different races and riders throughout the season. I thought the riders previewed were excellent choices. Appreciate that you offered up different story lines rather than the usual suspects.
ProRoadAccess 5 months ago
I'm personally excited to see one Chris Horner.