2022 Volta ao Algarve Stage 1 Preview

Portimão > Lagos 199.3km

The opening stage of this race usually ends in a big sprint, but maybe not this year. The route is straightforward, but the weather might have other plans.


The wind will reach a maximum of 25km/h and will come from the north-west. Most of the opening 130km will be into a headwind, then the bunch turn and head back down towards Lagos, meaning a cross/tailwind for just about the rest of the race. This part of the world does have a lot of trees, but with 35km to go, things start to get a little more exposed. There is every chance we see echelons and a smaller group go towards Lagos.


There is a small kicker that lasts for 500m and finishes with 2.1km to go, this is a danger point for the sprint teams and will certainly upset a few of them. Position needs to be held at the front of the group, which means you need strong domestiques. With 1.2km to go the bunch go all the way round a roundabout, which will string the bunch out. With 800 to go it’s straight on at a roundabout and then it’s full gas until the finish.


It all depends on the wind. Ineos showed in Provence that they don’t mind echelons, but Ganna isn’t at this race. QuickStep have a team full of strong riders, they’re the ones who’ll look to put others into trouble if the wind blows. If it doesn’t, it will be a straightforward sprint stage.


Fabio Jakobsen – started the season off in fine fashion over in Valencia, he’ll be hoping for another victory in this race, or maybe even two. Asgreen will be drafted into the train, helping to guide Lampaert and Van Lerberghe in the final kilometres. They are now without Mørkøv, but Van Lerberghe will be confident of filling his shoes. Fabio is flying just now; he starts as the favourite.

Tim Merlier – after a brilliant 2021, the Belgian gets his new season underway. His sprint train is missing the usual riders, so we’ll have to see how he adapts. I think he’ll need to try and jump on a rival’s wheel in the final kilometre, I don’t see his train being good enough to dominate the closing stages.

Bryan Coquard – loving life at Cofidis, and the wins are flowing. Winning a flat sprint against Jakobsen and Merlier will be difficult, but not impossible. Cofidis arrive with a decent looking sprint train, Coquard should be challenging for the podium.

Alexander Kristoff – Wanty have bossed most lead outs they’ve been involved in during the last two weeks. The big Norwegian failed to register a win in Valenciana, but he crossed the line first in Almeria, a great boost for him and the team. I think we’ll again see them control the final kilometres; they have the strongest train in this race. Can Kristoff finally get one over Jakobsen?

Juan Molano – not much help = going to be tough.

Jordi Meeus – the young Belgian has some powerful riders in his sprint train, he’ll be hoping to challenge the big name sprinters for the win. He started the season riding for Van Poppel in the Saudi Tour, now he gets his own chance. He impressed in 2021, I’m hoping to see continue to improve in 2022.

Prediction Time

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Wanty to control the lead out, Fabio Jakobsen to take the win.