|Prades takes the win on the slopes of Montemor-o-Novo (Photo: podi1.com)|
Featuring another uphill finish, this one shorter and steeper than the day prior, a breakaway ruled the majority of the day. Nothing was able to get away in the first 30 kilometers due to two intermediate sprints won by Delio Fernandez (OFM) and Ryan Anderson (Optum), which gave the pair valuable bonus seconds . Finally, a group of 5 took off early in the 2nd hour including Greg Daniel (USA National), Jon Larrinaga (Euskadi), Stian Remme (Fixit.no), Alvaro Cuadros (Etixx) and Jaroslaw Kowalczyk (BCD Marcpol). The group was able to take advantage of the mainly flat parcours and was able to get a maximum advantage of nearly 4 minutes with Greg Daniel being the leader on the road.
Team Ecuador, the team of stage 1 winner Byron Guama, began the chasing effort and were joined by OFM and in a period of 50 kilometers, the gap went to just 1 minute in length. With the gap holding steady at 1 minute, Larrinaga left the breakaway group after a fall and with 10 kilometers to go, Daniel attacked his breakaway mates and went on a jailbreak; putting everything on the road to try and get the stage win. With 3 kilometers to go, he had around 20 seconds but the road really began to kick up in the final couple of kilometers and the pack was bearing down on him. With less than half a kilometer to go, Daniel was smoked and passed up by the peloton and he would eventually come in 1:54 down. His USA National (and Bissell) teammate Ryan Eastman launched an attack that looked promising but when the road kicked up, he was caught by the front group with 100 meters to go.
Eduard Prades (OFM) launched and was able to distance himself over the brick-paved road with Carlos Barbero (Euskadi) and Ryan Anderson (Optum) in his wake. Spaniard Prades, who fought toe-to-toe with Contador and Kwiatkowski at the Volta ao Algarve, confirmed his good form on the steep finish. On the U23 front, Sven Erik Bystrøm finished at 6 seconds and Ryan Eastman & Tanner Putt were able to come in a 9 seconds, which allowed Putt to move up the GC and grab the youth classification jersey.
Barbero slipped into the yellow leader's jersey thanks to time bonuses with Prades at 6 seconds and Ryan Anderson at 9 seconds. Previous leader Byron Guama slipped to 7th overall at 23 seconds and Karel Hnik (Etixx) is still in the hunt at 19 seconds. The race continues tomorrow with a long but flatter stage to Mértola. While the stage is flat, an aggressive breakaway could definitely shake things up so everyone will need to be on their toes.