82nd Volta a Portugal em Bicicleta (27th of September - 5th of October)

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Luis Fernandes and Antônio Carvalho mean that this wasn't quite the Grand-Colombier fest that it threatened to be on the final climb, but definitely the fact W52 burned the Rodrigues candle, and the Rodrigues candle had an enormous wick, really hurt the stage it seemed. À la Jumbo, because César wasn't used at all, the assumption was that he was fresh so that dissuaded attacks other than for the stage, and then it turned out at the end he wasn't all that because if he had been, he outsprints everybody at the top of the climb for sure. And as Trevim points out, Efapel did almost everything they could to win this stage, I'm sure Joni outsprinting the GC guys at the top of the climb wasn't their first choice, high risk strategy and all that, but can't argue with the result in the end.
 
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Luis Fernandes and Antônio Carvalho mean that this wasn't quite the Grand-Colombier fest that it threatened to be on the final climb, but definitely the fact W52 burned the Rodrigues candle, and the Rodrigues candle had an enormous wick, really hurt the stage it seemed. À la Jumbo, because César wasn't used at all, the assumption was that he was fresh so that dissuaded attacks other than for the stage, and then it turned out at the end he wasn't all that because if he had been, he outsprints everybody at the top of the climb for sure. And as Trevim points out, Efapel did almost everything they could to win this stage, I'm sure Joni outsprinting the GC guys at the top of the climb wasn't their first choice, high risk strategy and all that, but can't argue with the result in the end.
If they thought Veloso was any good then they're not that smart because he was leaving gaps as soon as the attacks started. He was lucky Rodrigues was there to set the perfect pace for him
 
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If they thought Veloso was any good then they're not that smart because he was leaving gaps as soon as the attacks started. He was lucky Rodrigues was there to set the perfect pace for him
Yea, but those attacks didn't start until after Piornos, after which point the chance to attack for big time, enough to challenge the GC at least for anybody other than Figueiredo, would have been gone anyway. And for quite some time it was Boavista and Efapel burning their second matches to try to get rid of João from the front rather than César from the back.
 
Yea, but those attacks didn't start until after Piornos, after which point the chance to attack for big time, enough to challenge the GC at least for anybody other than Figueiredo, would have been gone anyway. And for quite some time it was Boavista and Efapel burning their second matches to try to get rid of João from the front rather than César from the back.
I think the first attacks start before Sanatorio which are some of the hardest ramps in that climb. Anyway I don't think much could be done there and the big winner of the day is probably Veloso who is still alive for the TT. Antunes might regret letting this go without taking more time also on Figueiredo. Let's see, perhaps something cool happens in Arrabida as well
 
A foreigner take on the Volta.....

Willie Smit

@williesmurfy

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28 de set

Today is the 2nd day of The Grandisima. Here there are no rules. Teams chase their own mates just to make it hard. There are no tactics. Just watts. As the famous saying goes "Salida de la Portugese". It's my first time here so I've packed vaseline.
https://twitter.com/williesmurfy
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28 de set

Great team performance for us after 2 days in Grandisima
@BurgosBH
... kept our leaders in the front. Today didn't make sense because they let a break go immediately and didn't start to chase it immediately...


29 de set

Good Day 3 in Gradisima. Ricardo had good legs and we did what we could. But Porto attack soon after making me look for parking. Happy to be back at climbing at a vam of 1700 but it's just not fast enough here in Portugal...After 6month stuck at 2000m in Andorra I feel better!


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1 de out

Yesterday was a tough day in Grandisima. We tried but got caught in the end. The only way to continue today is with my favourite jet fuel: Rice with olive oil, Scrambled egg and honey, all mixed

secrets recipe!
 
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Excellent, I feared the more human seeming pace and the nature of the field with no lambs-to-the-slaughter Dutch or Belgian Continental teams meant we wouldn't get the annual "WTF IS THIS RACE?" commentary from first-time visitors to the great Volta a Portugal show, but fortunately Smit was up for the challenge. I mean, people like Franco Pellizotti and Gilberto Simoni have commented on the insanity of the race.
 
Antunes nearly falls off the ramp at the start of the TT like Bernhard Kohl :neutral:

Now let's see if GCV can steal a march on these puny grimpeurs...

...now only 5" gap on GC between Antunes and Figueiredo. You never know, W52 might need Gustavo to salvage their honour! Could we be set for our first non-W52-lineage Volta vencedor since David Blanco? They've won the last 7 with 5 different riders (Marque, César Veloso, Vinhas, Alarcón and Rodrigues)...

Looks like Figueiredo has fallen apart on the second half of the TT however and losing 1'10" to César means he falls behind the veteran Galician on the GC. Antunes has saved it, giving W52 8 straight with 6 different riders.

It's also the 6th time in the last 8 years that W52 and its predecessors have put two riders on the podium, and with César passing Figueiredo, it's also the 4th time in the last 8 years that they've done a 1-2.

5 W52s in the top 10 in the TT too, we've graduated from the 90s to the early 00s in Portugal it seems ;)

Congratulations also to Cristián Rodríguez of Caja Rural for winning the prestigious prize of best rider on an estrangeiro team, 9th overall at +3'16", 33" ahead of the runaway favourite for the title, Volta stalwart Délio Rodríguez.
 
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So glad that Amaro Antunes was able to pull it off!... He was a really promising rider and I think he could be at WT level, there are riders way worse than him. But the truth is that such one dimensional climbers aren't very useful to the teams these days so I guess that ship as sailed, anyway really glad he won :)

I would also point out the result of Tavira. Even though Figueiredo lost one spot, they did a far better race than Efapel for instance who have a lot of big names not delivering, I think Paulinho might be without a team for next season.

The biggest disappointment for me was Jose Fernandes, I don't know if he had some kind of health issue but I was really hoping he could shine at this level.
 

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