Volta ao Algarve | Stage Two | Lagoa to Monchique | Mike Woods Impresses in His First Climbing Stage With the O&B

Stage two was big on climbs and beautiful scenery through the Algarve countryside. Temperatures and wind conditions cooperated all day, which made the race a pure battle of legs and wits. As was expected, the action truly began on three highly technical circuits around Monchique. Each circuit had a different layout, but all featured narrow city back roads and steep, punishing climbs.

THE HILLS OUTSIDE ONE OF THE RACE'S LARGEST CLIMBS PROVIDE A STUNNING VIEW OF THE COUNTRYSIDE, EXTENDING TO THE ATLANTIC OCEAN AND BEYOND.

THE HILLS OUTSIDE ONE OF THE RACE’S LARGEST CLIMBS PROVIDE A STUNNING VIEW OF THE COUNTRYSIDE, EXTENDING TO THE ATLANTIC OCEAN AND BEYOND.

Phil Gaimon joined an elite move on the second to last lap, but it did not carry enough weight to make it to the line. Phil’s fellow climbing ace and O&B rookie Mike Woods delivered an impressive and eye opening result, charging to the line with a group of all WorldTour riders behind solo winner Geraint Thomas of Sky. It bodes very well for the team’s racing on the slopes for 2015.

PHIL MIXED IT UP WITH A DANGEROUS MOVE ON THE FINAL CIRCUITS.

PHIL MIXED IT UP WITH A DANGEROUS MOVE ON THE FINAL CIRCUITS.

Mike Woods on what helped motivated his big result in stage two:
Phil Gaimon got in a really good move just after the start of the final KOM climb. It was a nice move – it is so tough fighting with Sky and Etixx-QuickStep for position all the time so Phil got off the front to avoid that. Meanwhile I stayed in the mix – Ryan Anderson and I were fighting the entire final lap and spent the final 25k trying to get in position and ready for the last corner which dropped us into a crazy descent. We were in OK position but the descent was really hairy, so when we came into the final climb we were pretty far back. We pinned it on the climb and I was able to stick with the front group.

It was a tough day – I wasn’t feeling great and I was definitely suffering on the final climb. My cousin died a few days ago. I cried pretty hard yesterday. When I was on the climb hurting today, I just thought of him. I thought, ‘I’m gonna do this for Ryan’. I think that’s the reason I made the front group. Otherwise I probably would have fallen off.

MIKE WOODS DELIVERED AN INCREDIBLE PERFORMANCE ON THE DAY. HE WAS THE ONLY NON-WORLDTOUR RIDER TO FINISH IN THE TOP TWENTY.

MIKE WOODS DELIVERED AN INCREDIBLE PERFORMANCE ON THE DAY. HE WAS THE ONLY NON-WORLDTOUR RIDER TO FINISH IN THE TOP TWENTY.

Phil Gaimon on his aggressive tactics in the races final kilometers:
It was a late move I knew the circuits pretty well, we pre-rode them a few days ago. I knew it was going to be pretty hairy to position well – tight roads and twisty climbs, being not the biggest team we don’t really get to start the climbs where we want to so the late breakaway looked good to me. I went across to it a little late which… hurt. I was feeling good in there but the group was too big and everyone was too fresh so it wasn’t gonna make it. It was fun to throw it down there the first big race of the year and the first climb. I’m feeling good.

the circuit didn’t really suit me – there were a couple little climbs that were nice and steep, and a good place to attack on a longer climb but it was tight and fast, and slightly scary turns so it was nice to be off the front and see them rather then pushing around a bunch of big dudes.

PHIL IS LOOKING EXTREMELY FIT FOR THE FIRST RACE OF THE SEASON.

PHIL IS LOOKING EXTREMELY FIT FOR THE FIRST RACE OF THE SEASON.

Ryan Anderson on the race’s hectic closing circuits:
The race really started with 100k to go, and those 100k were hard. The last 50k were full gas. The circuits were on really tight, narrow roads. We were constantly going up and down – I think we gained the majority of our elevation gain for the day towards the end on those roads. Etixx-Quickstep have done well in the race here before so they know these roads well and they definitely put the hurt on the rest of the group. They were controlling the race all day for Meersman’s yellow jersey, and they committed to making everyone behind us really suffer once we got on the narrow roads.

THE FINAL CIRCUITS WOUND THROUGH CLASSIC EUROPEAN BACK STREETS, WITH STEEP GRADES AND A LOT OF PAIN. RYAN ANDERSON AND MIKE WOODS BATTLED FROM THE LEAD GROUP.

THE FINAL CIRCUITS WOUND THROUGH CLASSIC EUROPEAN BACK STREETS, WITH STEEP GRADES AND A LOT OF PAIN. RYAN ANDERSON AND MIKE WOODS BATTLED FROM THE LEAD GROUP.

PERFORMANCE DIRECTOR ERIC WOHLBERG CAREFULLY APPLIES STICKERS TO EACH STEM WITH INFORMATION ON IMPORTANT POINTS OF THE RACE.

PERFORMANCE DIRECTOR ERIC WOHLBERG CAREFULLY APPLIES STICKERS TO EACH STEM WITH INFORMATION ON IMPORTANT POINTS OF THE RACE.

THE CANADIAN CONTIGENT STUDIES THE COURSE PROFILE FOR STAGE TWO.

THE CANADIAN CONTIGENT STUDIES THE COURSE PROFILE FOR STAGE TWO.

ROUNDABOUTS ARE A MAJOR PART OF EVERY EUROPEAN BIKE RACE. THEY ARE HARD TO NAVIGATE AND COME IN MANY VARIETIES.

ROUNDABOUTS ARE A MAJOR PART OF EVERY EUROPEAN BIKE RACE. THEY ARE HARD TO NAVIGATE AND COME IN MANY VARIETIES.

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PHIL GAIMON IS A HUGE FAN OF CHAMOIS BUTT'R'S EUROSTYLE CREAM.

PHIL GAIMON IS A HUGE FAN OF CHAMOIS BUTT’R’S EUROSTYLE CREAM.

COFFEE AND BIKES ARE INSEPARABLE. CAFFEINE IS WIDELY CONSUMED BEFORE EACH RACE, FOR OBVIOUS REASONS.

COFFEE AND BIKES ARE INSEPARABLE. CAFFEINE IS WIDELY CONSUMED BEFORE EACH RACE, FOR OBVIOUS REASONS.

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THE JERSEY HOLDERS LINE UP ACROSS THE TAPE BEFORE EACH DAY'S START GUN SOUNDS.

THE JERSEY HOLDERS LINE UP ACROSS THE TAPE BEFORE EACH DAY’S START GUN SOUNDS.

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SOME NEW CONTRUCTION IN LAGOA LOOMS OVER THE START LINE.

SOME NEW CONTRUCTION IN LAGOA LOOMS OVER THE START LINE.

EVEN YOUNG PEOPLE IN PORTUGAL GET GENUINELY EXCITED FOR A BIKE RACE.

EVEN YOUNG PEOPLE IN PORTUGAL GET GENUINELY EXCITED FOR A BIKE RACE.

THE PELOTON SPEEDS ACROSS A BEAUTIFUL BRIDGE OUTSIDE OF LAGOA.

THE PELOTON SPEEDS ACROSS A BEAUTIFUL BRIDGE OUTSIDE OF LAGOA.

THE PELOTON SKIRTED PORTUGAL'S LARGEST RACING CIRCUIT, USED FOR A WIDE VARIETY OF MOTORSPORTS. THE RACE WAS ORIGINALY INTENDED TO TRAVERSE THE COURSE, BUT THE ROUTE WAS CHANGED DUE TO THE TRACK BEING RESERVED BY SOME VERY, VERY FAST CARS.

THE PELOTON SKIRTED PORTUGAL’S LARGEST RACING CIRCUIT, USED FOR A WIDE VARIETY OF MOTORSPORTS. THE RACE WAS ORIGINALY INTENDED TO TRAVERSE THE COURSE, BUT THE ROUTE WAS CHANGED DUE TO THE TRACK BEING RESERVED BY SOME VERY, VERY FAST CARS.

OUR PORTUGEUSE SOIGNEUR JOSE SOUSA IS A STALWART OF THE COUNTRY'S BIKE RACING SCENE. IT SEEMS HE KNOWS EVERYONE IN THE PELOTON. HIS NAME HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED NUMEROUS TIMES OVER THE LOUDSPEAKERS AT THE START AND FINISH. HERE HE GRABS A SANDWICH FROM A FORMER MECHANIC FROM HIS OLD RACING DAYS.

OUR PORTUGEUSE SOIGNEUR JOSE SOUSA IS A STALWART OF THE COUNTRY’S BIKE RACING SCENE. IT SEEMS HE KNOWS EVERYONE IN THE PELOTON. HIS NAME HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED NUMEROUS TIMES OVER THE LOUDSPEAKERS AT THE START AND FINISH. HERE HE GRABS A SANDWICH FROM A FORMER MECHANIC FROM HIS OLD RACING DAYS.

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ERIC YOUNG MULTITASKS WITH HIS CLIF HYDRATION MIX ON THE FINAL CIRCUIT.

ERIC YOUNG MULTITASKS WITH HIS CLIF HYDRATION MIX ON THE FINAL CIRCUIT.

SKY'S GERAINT THOMAS CAPTURED THE WIN AFTER A BRAVE SOLO ATTACK ON THE FINAL CLIMB.

SKY’S GERAINT THOMAS CAPTURED THE WIN AFTER A BRAVE SOLO ATTACK ON THE FINAL CLIMB.

MIKE WOODS CHARGES TO THE LINE AT THE BACK OF AN ELITE GROUP JUST METERS FROM THE FINISH.

MIKE WOODS CHARGES TO THE LINE AT THE BACK OF AN ELITE GROUP JUST METERS FROM THE FINISH.

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