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Aru, Poels and Demare headline Volta ao Algarve

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Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates)

Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The Algarve peloton in action during stage 1

The Algarve peloton in action during stage 1
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Wout Poels was second on stage 6 and seocnd overall at the Tour Down Under

Wout Poels was second on stage 6 and seocnd overall at the Tour Down Under
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Arnaud Demare wins stage 18 at the Tour de France

Arnaud Demare wins stage 18 at the Tour de France
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Twelve WorldTour teams will take on the five stages of the Volta ao Algarve from February 20 to 24. The race covers 778,6km with more than 12.000metres of climbing.

Bora-hansgrohe, CCC, Deceuninck-Quickstep, Lotto-Soudal, Dimension Data, Jumbo-Visma, Katusha-Alpecin, Sky, Sunweb, Trek-Segafredo and UAE Team Emirates will represent the top teams at the 2.HC race. Professional Continental teams Wanty-Gobert, Cofidis, Caja Rural – Seguros and W52-FC Porto as well as eight Portuguese Continental teams round out the field of 168.

Team Sky are sending a high-powered team, with David de la Cruz, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Wout Poels, Luke Rowe and Ian Stannard. Fabio Aru leads UAE Team Emirates, Bora-hansgrohe features Jempy Drucker, while Soren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb) makes his season debut. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data), currently leading the overall GC at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, will look to put in another top performance.

The race opens with the longest stage, 199km from Portimao to Lagos, with an expected sprint finish. Stage 2, 187km from Almodovar to Monchique, finishes atop a category 1 mountain. The third stage gives the time triallists a chance on a 20.3km course starting and finishing in Lagos. Stage 4 is another one for the sprinters, after 198km from Albufeira to Tavira.

The race's winner will be crowned on the final stage, where the peloton covers 173km from Faro to Malhao, with a finish atop the category 2 climb and an average gradient of 9.9 per cent on the 2.5km closing climb.