The German continued his fine early form by beating compatriot Greipel in the stage one sprint finish

Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep) continues his rich vein of early season form on the first stage of the 2016 Volta ao Algarve by sprinting ahead of André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) to the victory.

The Germans went head-to-head for the first time this season in the Portuguese race, with both their sprint trains active in trying to set-up the finish for their fast men.

There were falls in the bunch in the final run-in to the line, but no-one was able to stop Kittel as he launched his sprint to the opening victory of the race and the leader’s jersey.


Watch: Marcel Kittel discusses his 2016 season


Trek-Segafredo’s Jasper Stuyven placed third in the final push to the line, with Cannondale’s new recruit Wouter Wippert taking fourth before a one second split to the next group.

Alex Dowsett (Movistar) was Britain’s highest placed finisher, taking eighth place from the second group before GC contenders like defending champion Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) rolling in a further two seconds down.

Stage-1 algarve

Domingos Gonçalves (Epafel), Alexandr Kolobnev (Gazprom-RusVelo) and Kamil Gradek (Verva ActiveJet) dominated the day’s main proceedings on the undulating course, building a breakaway with a maximum gap of eight minutes before being reeled back in.

The peloton finally caught the trio with around 7km remaining, with no-one able to stop Kittel as he rampaged to Etixx’s 10th victory of 2016 already after his exploits in Dubai.

Result

Volta ao Algarve stage one, Lagos – Albufeira (163.6km)

1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Etixx – QuickStep, in 3-52-35
2. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Soudal
3. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
4. Wouter Wippert (Ned) Cannondale, all same time
5. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 1 second
6. Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky
7. Tiago Machado (Por) Katusha
8. Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar
9. Roman Maikin (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo
10. Pawel Cieslik (Pol) VERVA ActiveJet, all same time

General Classification

1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Etixx – QuickStep
2. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Soudal
3. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
4. Wouter Wippert (Ned) Cannondale
5. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo
6. Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky
7. Tiago Machado (Por) Katusha
8. Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar
9. Roman Maikin (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo
10. Pawel Cieslik (Pol) VERVA ActiveJet

  • Daniel Coy

    great to see Alberto racing his last year.. bitter sweet.. I hope he has a nice build up over the next few months and no crashes….