Cavendish Wins Final Stage; Kwiatkowski Wins Volta ao Algarve 2014
Today's final stage began in Tavira and sent the riders 155.8 kilometers through Portugal's Algarve region before the race concluded with three laps on a slightly hilly circuit in Vilamoura.
The Omega Pharma-QuickStep team worked hard at the front of the peloton all day in order to protect its interests and preserve Kwiatkowski's overall race lead in the final stage. Today's breakaway group was kept on a short leash throughout the stage and was eventually brought back with fifteen kilometer to go when the team started preparing the sprint for Cavendish, known as the Manx Missile.
In addition to Cavendish's stage victory, race leader Kwiatkowski also took the overall race victory in southern Portugal after a race which saw him win a traditional stage and time trial to an equally impressive victory in which he even finished ahead of world time trial champion Tony Martin of Germany. Polish rider Kwiatkowski also finished on the podium in the queen stage, thereby further proving his strength as he stayed with famous stage race contenders such as Tinkoff-Saxo's Alberto Contador and Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) on the Alto do Malhão.
"I'm very happy," Cavendish said. "We came here to win the yellow jersey, and to win the stage would be a bonus. We controlled the race and everybody rode incredibly well. Super strong leadout, everybody did their part. Alessandro Petacchi was the last guy and he dropped me off at about 170 meters, more or less. Perfectly executed. I'm very happy that Omega Pharma - Quick-Step could come away with three stage wins. We won the GC two straight years now. So, it's really good. I think this is good motivation for my next races."
"It's my first stage race victory, so I'm really happy," Kwiatkowski explained. "I have been aiming for the general classification in the stage races, so to start my 2014 season like this is a good sign. It's going to be a good spring coming for not just me, but the whole team. I'm really happy about it."
"As for today, Cavendish was super thankful for the leadout, so I think he is just as happy as I am with the performance of the team. We controlled from the beginning to the end and we really did it well. I was safe, I even took three seconds at the intermediate sprint just to be calm if something were to happen in the final."
"I am really motivated now and will spend the next days training in Spain in preparation for Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico. I'm progressing very well as I move on to what's next on my race schedule," Kwiatkowski concluded.