Belgian Gianni Meersman (Lotto-Belisol) won the bunch sprint in the opening stage of the Tour of the Algarve in Albufeira on Wednesday.

Meersman opened his sprint up early on the inside of the gently curving run-in to the finish, and kept his rivals at bay to take the win.

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) chased hard to place second, with Matti Breschel (Rabobank) a close third. Irishman Nicolas Roche (Ag2r) placed fifth.

On Thursday, the riders face a 187.5km stage from Faro to Lagoa.

Results

Tour of the Algarve 2012, stage one: Dunas Douradas to Albufeira, 151km

1. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Lotto-Belisol

2. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing

3. Matti Breschel (Den) Rabobank

4. Bjorn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM

5. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2r La Mondiale

6. Anthony Ravard (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale

7. Rui Costa (Por) Movistar

8. Michael van Stayen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen

9. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky

10. Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan all same time

Overall classification after stage one

1. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Lotto-Belisol

2. Greg van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing at 4 secs

3. Matti Breschel (Den) Rabobank at 6 secs

4. Bjorn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM at 10 secs

5. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2R La Mondiale at 10 secs

6. Anthony Ravard (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale at 10 secs

7. Rui Costa (Por) Movistar at 10 secs

8. Michael van Stayen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen at 10 secs

9. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky at 10 secs

10. Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan at 10 secs

Related links



Wiggins and Froome make season debut in Algarve

This article is from

Cycling Weekly – In print and online, Cycling Weekly is the best source of breaking news, race reportage, reliable fitness advice, trustworthy product reviews and inspirational features. First published in 1891, the magazine has an amazing and unrivalled heritage, having been at the heart of British cycling for over 120 years.

Subscribe to Cycling Weekly in print » | Read the digital edition »