2023 Volta ao Algarve Stage 4 Preview

Albufeira > Malhão 177.6km

Well, well, well, what a ride by Magnus Cort. He now sits 18s ahead of Rui Costa, Van Wilder is at 20, Madouas, Hindley and Pidcock are at 26, Ganna’s at 27 and the rest follow at 28. This race is still wide open. The problem for Magnus Cort is that he’s going to be a victim of his own success, all the other teams are going to go full gas in this stage. Can he hold on?


Another nice day, but there will be a bit of wind around to keep the peloton on their toes.

The Climb

It always surprises me that it’s only 2.5km in length, it seems to go on forever. There are normally quite a few riders in the mix with 1km to go, but their legs fall off when the sprint starts.


Sergio Higuita, Élie Gesbert (weak field), Miguel Ángel López, those are the last three winners of this stage, it gives you an indication of the type of rider who wins here. Basically, you’ve got to be a good climber, but you also need a punch to finish it off in the final 200m. 

First time up Alto do Malhão is going to be fast. This is where teams will try to isolate Cort and put him under pressure. Cort is clearly riding very strong, but it’s still a stretch to think he’s going to compete for the win in this stage, but his gap means that he’s got a buffer and should still be in the GC fight come the TT. 

Ineos have the most riders high on GC, but how will they approach this stage. Ganna must do his own thing, try and hang tight and limit his losses. Do they ride for a Pidcock sprint? Do they let Martínez and Arensman light up the race? They have the numbers to ensure they get the type of stage that they want, it’s up to the others to stop them from doing this.

Bora had multiple riders left on Thursday, but my pick of Higuita didn’t look his usual self. For them, it’s all about winning this stage, they won’t be in with a shout for the overall. Having multiple options is crucial if Ineos try something a little different, they can’t afford to miss a move, as they’ll be the team expected to chase in the bunch.

The stage is set up quite nicely, you’ll need to split your attention between those fighting for the stage and the big TT riders hoping to only lose around 20 seconds. One thing this climb usually ensures is big gaps on GC, it might only be a 2.5km hill, but it’s far too hard for most riders.


Tom Pidcock – came here with the objective of winning a stage, this is his last chance. He was frustrated on Thursday, he got squashed against the barriers and couldn’t sprint for the win. Pidcock is no longer a youngster, he’ll be 24 later this year, he needs to start winning more races. This is his 3rd season as a pro, but it’s the first where he’s not done a full CX calendar in the winter, he’s now getting serious about the road. Pidcock is a sensational rider, he has everything it takes to be one of the very best in the sport, and I get the feeling this year is a going to be a big one for him. Ineos should ride for him, he’s their best chance of taking the win.

Ilan Van Wilder – was brilliant on Thursday, such a shame he celebrated too early, but that’s life. I mentioned in my overall preview that I was expecting big things from him this year, he’s certainly started the season in fine form. Van Wilder has an excellent punch, exactly what’s required to win this stage. Is it time for his first pro win?

Sergio Higuita – disappointed on Thursday, he didn’t look comfortable on the climb. For me, that’s a bad sign for this stage.

Rui Costa – continued his brilliant start to the year with 3rd place on Thursday, he’s got amazing legs just now. He’ll be confident of winning this stage, steep gradients haven’t given him any problems this season. At 36, does he still have the kick required to cross the line first on this type of hill?

Jai Hindley – he impressed on Thursday, always at the front of the race and looking easy. The Aussie has a very good sprint, but with his big goals later in the season, will he be at the level required to win this stage?

João Almeida – he was like Higuita on Thursday, he never looked like winning the stage. Maybe the knee injury he picked up in Mallorca is holding him back a little.

Valentin Madouas – will the final climb be a little too fast for him? That’s my concern, it should suit the climbers a little more than him.

Dani Martínez – went very close last year, he was 2nd to Higuita. On Thursday, he tried to set up a Pidcock win, that tells me a little about where he sits in the Ineos hierarchy at this race. Will he get freedom to chase the win? We won’t know until last time up the climb.

Magnus Cort – surely not another win. He’s going well, but if he wins on Alto do Malhão, I’ll run naked through the streets of my town! Seriously, he could go quite deep into the finale, but he needs Padun and Kudus to have good days.

Prediction Time

A hard stage, where the climbers come out on top.

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I’ll take a win for Jai Hindley.