• A photo was needed to determine the winner in stage 4 of the 2017 Volta ao Algarve (Getty)Source: Getty
The race jury went to the photo to work out who won as Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo), and Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) crossed the line together.
Cycling Central

19 Feb 2017 - 11:06 AM  UPDATED 19 Feb 2017 - 11:29 AM

The victor was Greipel but there was barely anything in it after the sprint trains of all three riders worked well in the dying kilometres, delivering their leaders to the line. 

But first the peloton had to catch the three escapees before there was a hint of a bunch sprint. Out the front all stage, Ryan Mullen (Cannondale-Drapac), Taco van der Hoorn (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij), and Dion Smith (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) held on until the second last kilometre. 

"It was a cat and mouse game between the break and the bunch," Greipel analysed after the stage. "It was really close, but we caught them in the end."

"This was a nice victory. Nikolas Maes took me, Tiesj Benoot, Tony Gallopin and Jürgen Roelandts to the front. Jürgen led me to the wheel of Arnaud Démare in the last kilometre.

"I lost some positions when Richeze took Gavria to the front. I did a long and fast sprint and was lucky to get the wheel of Degenkolb.

"I beat him on the line. It was a nice sprint to watch I think. I knew that I won. It was close, but as sprinters we are dealing a lot with differences of only a few centimetres.

Jasper Stuyven, Degenkolb's pilot fish also provided an analysis of the sprint finish. 

"I think Quick Step came a little bit underneath in the last corner and that is why John was not immediately on my wheel, and maybe that is the few centimeters he is missing in the end.

"But it went like we said we wanted, to deliver him with 150-170m to go. I had a really strong kick; I also like this kind of finish, and John too. I think we showed we really have the power in the legs to lead him out perfectly."

While Groenewegen was disappointed with the result, he knew exactly how it happened. 

"In the last corner, I was too excited to try to get by Greipel. I should not do that, it failed and I lost some speed. I started the sprint a few bike lengths behind the German. I still was close, which indicates that I'm fine.

"To retain the leader’s jersey for Primoz was more important. We controlled the pack and so you miss those guys in the sprint. At such a time, you have to deal with it differently. If our lead-out man Robert Wagner is run flat then it gets harder in the final."


Groenewegen taking the Lotto NL-Jumbo train to the Tour
Dutch national road champion Dylan Groenewegen has been drawn in comparison with Aussie sprint prince Caleb Ewan after a promising season start at the Dubai Tour.

While Groenewegen lost, his team succeeded in protecting Primoz Roglic's lead. Greipel yesterday accused Roglic via Twitter of drafting although he did place the blame fully on race officials. 

But the Gorilla couldn't hide his happiness at his second win of the season following a win at Trofeo Porreres, Spain in January.