The Danish Champion impressed on what was a day for the GC contenders.
Sam Bennett started the second stage of the Portuguese race in the yellow jersey, which he got after scoring his sixth victory of the season on the opening day, and ended it in the green one, which he will sport during Friday’s stage, but the Irishman wasn’t the only Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider in the spotlight during the hard stage 2.
Kasper Asgreen, who is riding in Portugal for the first time since triumphing at the Ronde van Vlaanderen, was a prominent figure at the front of the peloton in the last 20 kilometers, as the group approached the steep climb of La Pomba. Kasper rode a steady tempo which forced an important selection, only two dozen riders making it over the top in the main group. The powerful Dane rested on the last descent before making his way again to the front as Alto da Foia began and pushing hard on its early slopes.
It all culminated with an attack four kilometers from the top that sparked a series of moves which whittled down the peloton to a five-man group from where Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) claimed the victory. Kasper finished around 40 seconds down and is now our team’s best placed rider in the general classification.
“It was a hard day out there, but I felt quite ok even though my shape wasn’t really there, which meant I couldn’t follow the real climbers on the last ascent. So I tried something a bit earlier and on the descent to the penultimate climb we went full gas and split the bunch. Once we arrived on the climb, I just tried to keep a good pace all the way up, to limit the damage. Then, on Foia, it was just about getting to the top as fast as possible”, said the Danish Champion. “A big thanks to the team! The guys rode perfectly today and kept me in a good position, helping me save energy for the final part of the stage. Now let’s see what we can do in the next stages.”
Photo credit: ©Luc Claessen/ Getty Images