74ª Volta a Portugal 15/08 to 26/08

74ª Volta a Portugal 15/08 to 26/08

This years Volta Route is fairly similar to last years route and once again a bit of a disappointment, the economic crisis in portugal doesn't allow the organizers great adventures into new terrain without getting paid by the host towns. so once again no alto de S. Macário which was tested on the baby volta do futuro (the baby volta) in 2010, on that stage Amaro Antunes, one of biggest portuguese talents which will race his first volta this year at 22 years of age, put 1.47 into every1 attacking from the main group. We also won't see the vuelta heading neither south of lisbon nor to my disappointment to the interior of country in vila real and bragança where they could find some very though terrain like the malhão climb.

anyway onto the route itself: 1 prologue, 1 36k itt, 2 MTF, 1 hill top finish and a couple of tough finishes and the rest are sprint stages.

the profiles of the stages:

Prologue: not much needs to be said about this. . . .

stage 1: this looks like a fairly good stage that could create some gaps, i doubt the pure sprinters will be there at the end so most likely it will be a Sergio Ribeiro win and yellow for which he will prolly keep until the first MTF.

stage 2: sprint stage. . . .

stage 3: it looks like a hill top finish but an easy won so stage number 2 for Serigo Ribeiro? it must be said that this stage goes through my hometown so i will be on the top of the extremo climb with my friends, it must be said that the volta isn't using the terrain available for this stage to it's full potential has before the extremo they already skipped 2( monte faro and bonfim) tougher climbs then the extremo one and after the extremo they skip another 1 . . .
Stage 4: First MTF on Monte Farinha and for the second year in a row the lead up to the climb is an utter disappointment :( I bet libertine will be mighty upset when he sees this profile. . . . it will still provide some entertainment ofc as Monte Farinha is a nice climb and if attacked properly it can create some gaps

stage 5: looks like a very nice stage for a breakaway to succeed, or for efapel glass drive to bring it back and Sergio Ribeiro to get another stage win

Stage 6: sprint finish so not much to say
Stage 7: a hill top finish to sabugal the last 3k profiles aren't available yet so i am not sure how though this one is, but maybe libertine can give me a hand on this one

Stage 8: The queen stage of the vuelta by far, finishing on the Alto the torre climbed from the toughest side, the seia side. before the reach the torre however they have to climb 2 tough first category climbs, penhas da saude and penhas douradas 2 climbs with no flat in btw them so attack can be made there by the second tier contenders. after those climbs there is a long 40k downhill that leads to the bottom of the torre climb. The climb to the torre is a beast, nearly 30k long it has the steepest sections which reach 17% on the first part of the climb up to the small downhill section. after the downhill section the climb remains steep for 10k before transforming itself into an endless 10k drag to finish at 1.8k meters of altitude which no protection to the wind with constant 5 to 7% gradients. Gaps are always huge on this climbs and any1 on a bad day better be prepared to loose minutes!!!!

Results from last year when the mighty tavira train made sky look like a bunch of amateurs and put minutes into every1 cept rui sousa who managed to hang on for dear life till the finish where he tried but failed to outsprint Andre Cardoso:

1-André CARDOSO Tavira/Prio 5:28:58
2-Rui SOUSA Barbot/Efapel m.t.
3-Ricardo MESTRE Tavira/Prio a 0:00:03
4-Nelson VITORINO Tavira/Prio a 0:00:14
5-Célio SOUSA ONDA/Boavista a 0:01:47
6-Hernâni BRÔCO LA/Antarte a 0:02:06
7-Delio FERNANDEZ ONDA/Boavista a 0:02:17
8-Francesco GAVAZZI Lampre/ISD a 0:02:40
9-Sergio RIBEIRO Barbot/Efapel a 0:03:25
10-João CABREIRA ONDA/Boavista a 0:03:28

Stage 9: A flat 36k long itt, the pure climbers will have to work hard to defend their hard gained time on the previous days if they want to win the volta.

Stage 10: Parade into lisbon. . .
the team that will show up are:

Onda Boavista
Caja Rural
Burgos BH.Castilla y Leon
Team Bonitas
Wow, this route makes baby Jesus cry.

Seriously, what the hell is that Senhora da Graça stage? "oh, you know, a climb with comparable grades to Verbier doesn't need any lead-in climbs"... Movistar aren't going to come and bring Rui Costa, guys, they've got to have a set of guys at the Vuelta and another at the other WT events. Bet the top 10 are separated by less than 30 seconds on that.

I'm hoping the Fafe stage can open up a bit of time gaps but I doubt it. Looks no tougher than the stuff Sagan was winning at Le Tour, where it's uphill but still a bunch sprint, not even one where there is a time gap. Sabugal... I'm thinking that last uphill wall that it looks like must be fictitious, due to an admin error when programming those profiles. There's nowhere to put in that kind of climb. Unless they finish in the back end of beyond on the roads out of the town or in one of the outlying villages and call it Sabugal, there's nowhere to put in any real kind of climb actually... maybe some vaguely uphill sprinting terrain in town (on cobbles, no less), but basically like a much less challenging Gouveia finish.

If money's an issue... don't put a goddamn stage finish in Lisboa! Or if you do... put it in Parque Monsanto or something, on the old racing circuit. Make it something other than a waste of a stage.

I agree that Monte Assunção was growing stale (at least being used as the first climb of the race, where it was becoming uphill sprints of bunches of 20 each time)... but when it was used AFTER one of the big climbs, like in 2009, it was way more exciting, with the riders having to make time up, so the likes of Jiménez made it tough racing from the bottom. But removing it and replacing it with nothing? Not convinced. There is no Monte Assunção, nor are there the gradual puncheur finishes in Guarda or Gouveia that so often provide entertaining climaxes. Instead we're given a couple of barely noticeable uphill pimples in Fafe and Sabugal, and no third real tough stage to create any time gaps.

Torre stage should either add the Alto de Gibraltar if it's going the side it is going, or do Piornos from the north down into Covilhã, then Teixeira and Carrazedo before Torre - absolutely no flat from Carrazedo into Seia. I do think that one year, actually, they should go back to what they did in 2008 and put Torre on the first weekend, to try to induce more aggressive racing from the GC guys on Senhora da Graça and whatever medium mountain or puncheur stages they put in.

The Fafe stage could be SO much better than it is. There's a road leading up to the summit of Monte São Salvador, but I don't think there's room at the summit. Nevertheless, even with a flat finish in Fafe, there are lots of medium climbs they could throw in in the late parts of the stage to make it hard to control and create some exciting racing. What I wouldn't give for a climb up to the village of Monte (next to Casal de Estime)(I estimate about 4,5km at about 6%, and about an 11-12km run back into Fafe) in the dying stages.

And now for the positives:
The first road stage. That's really good. That's it.
Sep 9, 2009
Whoever wins should write a cheque to whichever sadsack failed to give endura a wildcard.

Only suits can deny JTL.

Suits and constant injuries.
Waterloo Sunrise said:
Whoever wins should write a cheque to whichever sadsack failed to give endura a wildcard.

Only suits can deny JTL.

Suits and constant injuries.
i would actually love to see how would JTL go on the portuguese heat against the portuguese domestique scene :eek:
Oct 17, 2010
I must say I would really like David Blanco to take the (5th) win and make history. He had a bumpy ride so far. A lot of talking about joining Carmim-Prio, but that didn't happen for one reason or another. Remember this is the team of last year's winner Ricardo Mestre.

Finally joins Barbot-Efapel. In theory, less of a power struggle. Although were talking about a team which features in its ranks Sérgio Sousa, Rui Sousa, Nuno Ribeiro and Ricardo Vilela. That's some serious firepower right there.

So far, his best results are abroad, with Top 10 at Castilla y Leon and Asturia. He also featured at Troféu Joaquim Agostinho (middle of July), although with a disapointing ride. He was struggling with intest...well, diarrhea.

So what to expect? He has reason to be alert as his teammates were very good at GP Efapel/Glassdrive and could take leadership (Vilela won GC; N. Ribeiro won a stage). But If he's in form and has a commited team around him. In the very least it would make for a nice battle against Mestre.
Apr 25, 2009
Sorry, I don't see how any thread about an obscenely tarnished race like this should be allowed in the forum. Toss it in the clinic where it belongs.
Apr 25, 2009
Libertine Seguros said:
With some dumb three week race in France.
Now we're cooking on gas.. The amazing thing about it all Libertine is that it was a triumph for clean cycling.. This and anything else Portuguese to do with cycling is plainly ridiculous. In the clinic please..
Oct 17, 2010
We have a startlist. Just click on each team to see who's in. I took the liberty to copy just some of the teams I am looking forward to see perform. Besides the Portuguese Continental of course

Portuguese National Team
41 António Carvalho
42 Rafael Silva
43 André Morato
44 Pedro Paulinho
45 Micael Isidoro
46 Rafael Reis
47 Ricardo Ferreira
48 Bruno Saraiva
49 Rui Vinhas

91 Joni Brandão
92 Moises Dueñas
93 David Garcia
94 Efren Aguilera
95 Nicolas Capdepuy
96 Damien Branaa
97 Francisco Anton
98 Luis Bonet
99 Pablo Muiño

101 Javier Alberto Gonzalez
102 John Darwin Atapuma
103 Juan Pablo Forero
104 Wilson Alexander Marentes
105 Dalivier Ospina
106 Victor Hugo Peña
107 Carlos Julian Quintero
108 Juan Pablo Suarez
109 Duber Armando Quintero

121 Marc de Maar
122 Kai Reus
123 Boy Van Poppel
124 Davide Frattini
125 Jonathan Clarke
126 Jason McCartney
127 Bradley White
128 Jay Thomson
129 Adrian Hegyvary

151 Dennis Van Niekerk
152 Jacques Van Rensburg
153 Jaco Venter
154 Meron Rusom Alem
155 Jani Tewelde Weldegabir
156 Tesfay Habtemariam
157 Ferekalsi Debesai
158 Tsgabu Grmay
159 Reinardt Van Rensburg

Personally, the absence of Jordi Simon for Andalucia is a disappointment. Once I knew he wouldn't be doing Vuelta a Espana, I was hoiping we'd be able to see him here. But no luck.

Overall I'm quite happy with the startlist. Two weeks and the show starts.
Reis, Atapuma, Brandão, Antunes, Vilela, Paulinho


i can't wait to see how the portuguese young guns will fare against the more experienced guys and atapuma who has proven himself competitive at world tour level before
Oct 17, 2010
Ah, almost forgot to copy Burgos. I was very pleased to see Brandão getting a place at the spanish team. He deserved it after a very active Volta a Portugal last year (at the time, he told the press unless something came up, he would leave cycling due to lack of funds).

For those wondering. Pedro Paulinho is the brother of Sergio (Paulinho) from Saxo-Bank Tinkoff. He has a good sprint, which helped him build a carreer at the espoirs in Portugal. Current U23 Portuguese champion. Internationally, an 8th at GP della Liberazione this year.
Feb 18, 2011
Ricardo Mestre will be very likely the winner again, it's the n1 contender. Foreign cyclists doing this race for the first time doesn't know how hard this race is, Atapuma can do well on the climbs, but honestly i can't see him winning.
Wow first time since Hector Guerra ( :mad: ) that I will pull for a foreigner to win the best stages of the damn thing: Atapuma! Still, for the overall I wouldn't mind seeing Mestre win again. Seems like a very humble guy; a lot like Ribeiro before suspension :D

@Libertine: I can find another positive. We still have a race even with all the financial troubles :)

About the route:
Prologue - a bit too short I think, they could have at least doubled it.
Stage 1 - if the heat is on we'll probably see someone get dropped hard on those small climbs.
Stage 4 - I want Serra do Alvão! And I'm also tired of Sra. da Graça. What about a finish in Ermelo? They could probably use Marão on the run in and then the finish is 3.5km@7%. It would be something different at least.
Stage 7 - The finish is supposed to be quite hard. It remains to be seen.
Stage 8 - I just hope there isn't headwind on the climb. It's a typical stage of the Volta but I would like to see a different approach. Perhaps Seia and Covilhã as somewhat early climbs and then in the end the climb from Unhais da Serra to the Torre. This side of the climb has a sterrato sector and the final part (~5km) is the same as from Covilhã with the famous tunnel.
Stage 9 - Probably there'll be tail to cross wind so that will probably reduce the differences that a specialist could do, right?
Stage 10 - There are probably a hundred short-very steep climbs in that city. At least put a couple of them there and you can still finish on the Avenida da Liberdade. This stage should be like a Tour de Flanders without the cobbles. Or Monsanto at least.

Looking forward to see Atapuma, Reus, Rafael Reis. Although with the amount of wind we have these last couple of months, it can turn into a bordures race :D
Feb 8, 2012
trevim said:
@Libertine: I can find another positive. We still have a race even with all the financial troubles :)
Indeed, Joaquim Gomes does a good, and very difficult, job..

Still, I would like to see the format of the race change a bit, to a more conventional one week race.
We have the potential to really nice routes. Hilly stages, mountain stages, cobbles..you name it. The lack of funding limits the choices of the organization. I guess Benfica should return, to improve funding.. :p

I guess they can't remove Sra da Graça because Celorico de Basto pays a lot for that stage, even though it is really overused.

Still, the field has surprised me :) .
Mar 31, 2010
Waterloo Sunrise said:
Whoever wins should write a cheque to whichever sadsack failed to give endura a wildcard.

Only suits can deny JTL.

Suits and constant injuries.
jtl would get owned by coldeportes

very interesting will be the team of funvic. the richest team in latin america. looking forward to magno praod and gregory panizzo.