Volta ao Algarve: Groenewegen defeats Démare in stage 1 sprint

Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen continued his strong start to the 2018 season with another win in the stage 1 sprint at Volta ao Algarve Wednesday.

LottoNL-Jumbo’s sprinter came home just ahead of FDJ’s Arnaud Démare after a 192.6km stage to Lagos, Portugal. Hugo Hofstetter (Cofidis) was third, about a bike-length behind.

With only two sprint stages on the menu in this five-day stage race, the two-man breakaway was not destined to stay away. The peloton caught Jose Goncalves (Katusha-Alpecin) and Tom Devriendt (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) with about five kilometers to go.

Groenewegen lost touch with his lead-out man in the final kilometer. Instead, he followed Démare as Cofidis opened up the sprint first.

Although the French champion Démare was closing fast in the final 25 kilometers, Groenewegen held on, won the day and took the race’s overall lead.

It’s unlikely that Groenewegen will wear the jersey for longer than a day, as stage 2 features an uphill finish in Fóia after 187.9km of racing. That key climbing stage, as well as Friday’s individual time trial, should decide the overall standings.

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