The organisers of the Volta ao Algarve announced 13 WorldTour squads for the 44th edition of the race, more than half of the 25-team peloton for 2018.
Team Sky, Quick-Step Floors, BMC Racing, Team Sunweb, Trek-Segadredo, Movistar Team, Bora-hansgrohe, FDJ, LottoNL-Jumbo, Lotto Soudal, Dimension Data, Katusha-Alpecin and UAE Team Emirates will send teams of seven riders each following the UCI's reduction of team sizes.
The Portuguese Cycling Federation also included three Pro Continental squads: Wanty-Groupe Gobert, Cofidis, Solutions Crédits, and Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.
Nine Portuguese Continental teams were selected to complete the peloton: Aviludo-Louletano, Efapel, LA Alumínios, Liberty Seguros-Carglass, Miranda-Mortágua, Rádio Popular-Boavista, Sporting-Tavira, Vito-Feirense-BlackJack and W52-FC Porto.
The race begins on February 14 in Albufeira, and will have five stages including the 20.3km individual time trial in Lagoa on stage 3.
The other key point of the race will come on stage 2, a 187.9km route that ends with a 15.2km climb with a five per cent average gradient.
While the sprinters can enjoy the opening stage and the penultimate day, the final stage ends with the coastal ascent to Malhão, a short but steep kick averaging 10 per cent over three kilometres.
Last year, Primoz Roglic won the overall, matching Dan Martin in the Monchique climb before taking a solid lead in the time trial. The Slovenian held his own on the final stage to win the overall ahead of Michal Kwiatkowski.
Other past winners include Kwiatkowski, Geraint Thomas, Richie Porte and Alberto Contador.
2018 Volta ao Algarve:
February 14: Stage 1: Albufeira – Lagos, 192.6km
February 15: Stage 2: Sagres – Fóia (Monchique), 187.9km
February 16: Stage 3: Lagoa – Lagoa, 20.3km (ITT)
February 17: Stage 4: Almodôvar – Tavira, 199.2km
February 18: Stage 5: Faro – Malhão (Loulé), 173.5km
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