Kittel conquered on the 194km fourth and penultimate stage, crossing the line luxuriously ahead of Wouter Wippert (Cannondale) and Jens Debusschere (Lotto-Soudal).
“I can’t find the words to express my happiness. We did a great race today and we showed again a fantastic team spirit. We can all be very proud of what we achieved," Kittel said.
“It was a pretty fast and chaotic finale. Fabio Sabatini risked a lot to bring me into a good position, and I can’t thank him enough for his effort."
"He took me to the front with one kilometre to go and did an incredible lead-out, leaving me to open my sprint in the final 200 meters and finish off the job.
"Today’s victory is of the entire team, because the boys looked after me all the time, controlled the race and made sure I'm in a safe position."
With the race leader Tony Martin under their care, Etixx-Quickstep controlled proceedings from the gun, ultimately reeling back an early four-man breakaway of Guillaume De Almeida (Radio Popular), Charles Planet (Novo Nordisk), Ivan Savitskiy (Gazprom-Rusvelo) and Adam Stachowiak (Verva-ActiveJet).
“The stage was more or less relaxed, the riders weren't nervous and everything was under control until the final 25 kilometres, when things became really hectic and many riders crashed," said Martin.
"Even though the last kilometres weren't easy, we did a perfect job and finished safely, which is equally important."
Martin remains in the lead but must hold off on the final stage a motivated Geraint Thomas who is only three seconds in debt. As usual at the Volta ao Algarve, the Alto de Malhão climb could prove decisive. While only under 3km, it has an an average gradient of 8.9%. As he has won the race in 2011 and 2013, Martin is still hopeful.
"Tomorrow it won’t be easy, but I will give my best and will try to stay with Geraint, although I'm sure attacks will come also from other riders. It’s going to be again a hard day, but I can count on a great team and we’ll see how things go," he said.