Matias denies McGill at the line and wins stage 2 at Volta a Portugal

Joao Matias wins stage 2 of 2022 Volta a Portugal
Joao Matias wins stage 2 of 2022 Volta a Portugal (Image credit: Volta a Portugal)

João Matias (Tavfer-Mortágua-Ovos Matinados) won stage 2 of the Volta a Portugal, beating the USA’s Scott McGill (Wildlife Generation) in a sprint finish in Castelo Branco in the centre of Portugal.

Matias, who emotionally celebrated his first-ever win at the race, was protected and guided by teammate António Barbio on the uphill cobbled of the final kilometre. They avoided a crash in the final 2km and took advantage of a lead out by Glassdrive-Q8-Anicolor through a series of sweeping curves. When the finish line appeared, Matias kicked early to distance his rivals, passing Delio Fernández (Atum General-Tavira-Maria Novo Hotel) and Glassdrive to take the win.

Points jersey holder McGill tried to come up to him with a late burst but Matias had the speed to win and celebrate in tears with his teammates. Overall contender Mauricio Moreira (Glassdrive Q8 Anicolor) was third as his teammate Rafael Reis kept the overall lead.

In the opening hour of racing, a trio of riders sailed away for a breakaway and took sprint points at Campo Maior and Portalegre – Asier Etxeberria (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Edwin Torres (Java Kiwi Atlántico) and Fábio Oliveria (ABTF Betão-Feirense).

A crash in the peloton on a flat section of road caused three riders to abandon the race – US rider Noah Granigan (Generation Wildlife), Juan Fernando Calle (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Francisco Guerreiro (Efapel Cycling).

A trio of third-category climbs were bunched in the final half of the 181.5km stage, with the final climb of Retaxo launching riders to the final 13km of the race and an uphill finish at Castelo Branco.

With 29km to go, the original break of Oliveria, Torres, and Etxeberria plus the addition of Francisco Marques (LA Alumínios-Credibom-Marcos Car), had 1:33 on the peloton, but the peloton began to pick up the pace in the chase on the lower slopes of the Retaxo climb, which dragged out for 13.7km. 

Etxeberria launched a solo attack with just under 25km to go. With the bright yellow of Glassdrive Q8 Anicolor riders at the front of the peloton, the breakaway's hopes ended as the teams queued up for the sprint finish.

The Volta a Portugal heads into the mountains on Sunday with the 159km third stage from Sertã to Alto da Torre at 1977 metres.

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