South African professional road cyclist, Jay Thomson, won Stage 1 and claimed the overall lead at the Tour of Portugal on Thursday.

Racing for the American United Healthcare team, Thomson survived a 174km-long breakaway to claim a solo victory in a time of 05 hours 15 minutes 04 seconds for the 200km leg from Termas Monfortinho to Oliveira do Hospital.

The 26-year-old Krugersdorp resident also claimed the overall lead in the 12-day tour, which carries a 2.1 International Cycling Union grading, one level below the Grand Tours of France, Italy and Spain. Thomson was first to summit all six of the day’s categorised climbs on the stage and also claimed the lead in the King of the Mountains classification.

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South African allrounder, Jay Thomson, claimed Stage 1, the overall lead and the King of the Mountains jersey at the Tour of Portugal on Thursday.

Photo credit: Cycle Nation

Thomson and Spaniard Luis Mas Bonet (Burgos BH/Castilla e Leon) established a successful two-man break after just 26km. At one point their lead had grown to over 15 minutes, but a concerted chase, led by the Portuguese Carmin Prio team, saw peloton eventually reel in a tiring Mas Bonet. But the pack failed to catch Thomson, who won by 40 seconds.

Thomson’s victory made it two wins in two days for South Africans after MTN Qhubeka’s Reinardt Janse van Rensburg claimed the honours in the opening 2.2km individual time trial prologue stage on Wednesday. Team Bonitas is also competing in the tour, giving a strong South African presence in the event, which has attracted 17 teams from five continents.

Friday’s Stage 2 is a 190.7km haul from Oliveira to Bairro to Trofa.

For full results and more race information, visit ww.volta-portugal.com