The 2015 Volta ao Algarve was the 41st running of the Volta ao Algarve road cycling stage race. It was rated as a 2.1 event on the UCI Europe Tour and took place from 18 to 22 February 2015 in the Algarve region of Portugal.
The race consisted of five stages, including one summit finish (at Alto do Malhão) and one Individual time trial. The defending champion was Michał Kwiatkowski of Etixx–Quick-Step, who won two stages of the 2014 Volta ao Algarve.
The 2015 race was won by Geraint Thomas of Team Sky. He took the lead with victory in a solo breakaway on stage 2, then defended his lead with third place in the time trial and fourth place on the summit finish. He ended the race 27 seconds ahead of Kwiatkowski, with Tiago Machado (Team Katusha) in third place. Thomas also won the points classification; his teammate Richie Porte won the summit finish and also the mountains classification.
In the other classifications, the young riders competition was won by Davide Formolo (Cannondale–Garmin), Machado won the Portuguese classification and Machado's team Katusha won the team's classification.
The first stage was a 166.7 km (104 mi) route from Lagos to Albufeira, across generally hilly terrain, though it was expected that the race would end in a bunch sprint.
The early break consisted of Mario González (ActiveJet), Joni Brandão (Efapel), João Benta (Louletano-Ray Just Energy) and Samuel Magalhães (Rádio Popular-Boavista), who earned a lead of almost eight minutes before they were brought back by Lotto–Soudal and Etixx–Quick-Step, seeking to set up their sprinters for the stage win. Brandão was able to gain bonus seconds at both intermediate sprints.
Gianni Meersman (Etixx–Quick-Step) won the sprint ahead of Ben Swift (Team Sky) and Paul Martens (LottoNL–Jumbo) and moved into the race lead. Joni Brandão, having finished on the same time as Meersman, was third in the general classification thanks to the bonus seconds he won.
|Stage 1 Result
||General Classification after Stage 1
Stage 2 was a mixed stage: the first part saw the riders riding across gentle hills, but the final part of the 197.2 km (123 mi) course was much more demanding, with several difficult climbs in the last 70 km (43 mi).
The first major breakaway was formed by Marcel Sieberg (Lotto–Soudal), Andreas Schillinger (Bora–Argon 18), Fabricio Ferrari (Caja Rural–Seguros RGA), Wesley Kreder (Team Roompot) and Ivan Balykin (RusVelo). They built a lead of more than five minutes, but were caught in the mountainous portion of the race with more than 25 km (16 mi) remaining on the stage. A second breakaway then attacked, formed of Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev (Astana), Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar Team), Ian Boswell (Team Sky), Phil Gaimon (Optum–Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Alberto Gallego (Rádio Popular-Boavista). This group was caught before the final climb of the race.
The final climb finished 5.4 km (3 mi) from the end of the stage. Rein Taaramäe (Astana) attacked on this climb, before Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) launched his own attack. Thomas was able to catch and pass Taaramäe, taking a solo victory 19 seconds ahead of the Estonian and 23 seconds ahead of the rest of the lead group. With bonus seconds taken into consideration, Thomas now led the general classification by 30 seconds, as well as leading the points and mountains classifications. His team mate Sebastian Henao led the young riders classification. This was Thomas's first win of the season.
|Stage 2 Result
||General Classification after Stage 2
Stage 3 was a 19 km (12 mi) individual time trial from Vila do Bispo to Cabo de São Vicente. Though there were no significant climbs, the route was hilly throughout. There was additional difficulty caused by a headwind. The pre-stage favourite was former world time trial champion Tony Martin (Etixx–Quick-Step), who was wearing the German time trial champion's jersey for the first time in four years.
Adriano Malori (Movistar Team), who had won the time trial in the 2015 Tour de San Luis, set an early time of 21' 51". Martin was 10 seconds ahead at the checkpoint halfway along the course, but could not hold this advantage to the finish; he ended the stage on the same time as Malori, winning the stage thanks to the precise timing. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), riding in the yellow skinsuit of the race leader, was ten seconds ahead of Martin at the checkpoint, but faded over the final kilometres to finish three seconds behind Martin and Malori. Defending champion Michał Kwiatkowski was fourth. Thomas therefore increased his race lead, with Martin and Kwiatkowski in second and third.
|Stage 3 Result
||General Classification after Stage 3
The fourth stage was the queen stage of the race, a 215.7 km (134 mi) route from Tavira to the Alto do Malhão. The first part of the stage was relatively flat, before a difficult final section. This included three difficult climbs in the final 45 km (28 mi), before the summit finish.
The race was controlled throughout by Team Sky in defence of Geraint Thomas's yellow jersey. The day's main break was formed by Davide Malacarne (Astana), Tony Gallopin (Lotto–Soudal), Adriano Malori (Movistar Team), Mauritis Lammertink (Team Roompot), Kamil Gradek (ActiveJet), Filipe Cardoso (Efapel-Glassdrive) and Beñat Txoperena (Murias Taldea). They gained a lead of over four minutes, while another group attacked from behind. This group included Tony Martin Etixx–Quick-Step, in second place in the general classification. Both groups were caught before the penultimate climb, when Martin's teammate Zdeněk Štybar, eighth overall, attacked to lead over the climb. Heading into the final climb, however, Thomas was supported by his teammate Richie Porte, whose pace reduced the leading group to nine riders. Porte was then able to attack and take the stage victory. He was three seconds ahead of defending champion Michał Kwiatkowski Etixx–Quick-Step and a further three seconds ahead of Jon Izagirre (Movistar Team). Thomas finished fourth on the stage to defend his overall race lead.
|Stage 4 Result
||General Classification after Stage 4
The fifth and final stage of the race was a 184.3 km (115 mi) route from Almodôvar to Vilamoura. The first half of the stage was fairly hilly, but the final 80 km (50 mi) were fairly flat.
There was an early break of three riders: Pawel Bernas (ActiveJet), Diego Rubio (Efapel) and Imanol Estevez (Murias Taldea). They were then joined by Heiner Parra (Caja Rural–Seguros RGA). The group was initially allowed plenty of time by Team Sky and were able to climb the day's only categorised climb in the lead, but were caught on the descent. A new break then escaped, made up of Luis Mas (Caja Rural–Seguros RGA) and Beñat Txoperena (Murias Taldea). They were joined first by Micael Isidoro (Louletano-Ray Just Energy), and David de la Fuente (Efapel) and then also by Adriano Malori and Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar Team). They were never allowed a significant lead, with Lotto–Soudal leading the chase on behalf of André Greipel. Greipel was able to win the stage in the bunch sprint, ahead of Tom Van Asbroeck (LottoNL–Jumbo) and Raymond Kreder (Team Roompot). Kreder, however, was relegated for improper sprinting and third place on the stage went to Rüdiger Selig (Team Katusha).
None of the classifications changed hands in the final stage, so Geraint Thomas won the overall victory in the race.
|Stage 5 Result
||General Classification after Stage 5
Classification leadership table