After their performance in the sprint in Lagos, the riders of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux were present in the final of the first of two mountain top finishes in the Tour of Algarve (2.Pro, 16-20/02) this Thursday on the top of Alto de Foia (7.7 km à 6%).
At the start line in Albufeira, the race organization first honored sports director Hilaire Van der Schueren with the Prestige Prize for his contribution to the cycling wold in his career of more than 30 years.
Under his direction, the selection of the Belgian World Team stayed united in the peloton behind an early breakaway of five riders. Sprinter Alexander Kristoff, among others, played an excellent role in support of Sven Erik Bystrøm and Georg Zimmermann. The duo did not encounter any problems in the approach towards the final climb and started in a perfect position.
A headwind on the rolling climb towards Alto de Foia deterred the GC contenders from attacking and it was a group of around twenty riders which sprinted for the victory in the final hectometers. German rider Zimmermann and Norwegian rider Bystrøm almost finished in each others slipstream in eighth and tenth place respectively. The last named rider is currently in seventh place in the provisional classification.
A second opportunity is waiting for the sprinters on Friday.