The twilight zone called Portugal.

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So, after the queen stage in Torre we have the nearly 40-year-old Alejandro "Betamethasone" Marque on the lead and the clear favorite.

Mauricio Moreira is pulling a Balárcon level transformation (although, to be fair, Moreira was a fair better rider than Balárcon to begin with) and now climbs at an Abner González level. Porco and Efapel were pathetic: Porco """has""" three leaders but it's harder when everyone is on the juice and can keep up with the hundreds of accelerations, Efapel is just the usual mess tactically. Figueiredo looked good until halfway of the climb but kind of faded. Carvalho was bad.

After a penalty for getting a drink from the car in the last few kms, both Moreira and González are a bit back on the GC. Marque and Doposo, averaging 40, are now in the top positions and unless something really special happens, the top2 may have been found considering they're going to detonate the last ITT...

Grandíssima never disappoints, what a pathetic and hilarious piece of cycling that last stage was.
It's Porto, not "Porco".
 
Looking at the times on Strava Luis Fernandes climbed Torre 1min slower than Figueiredo in 2020.
Luis Fernandez climbed it in 1:00:06 an did 337W, at 63kg. Nothing special, but it was a very tactical ascent, he did the first steep part of the climb when they went hard in 23:01, 379W, so above 6.1 W/kg for over 20min at the start of a 1 hour climb, pretty respectable numbers.
The funny thing is that back in 2015 Daniel Silva did the whole climb im 57:06, 345W at a bodyweight of 59kg and still lost 34sec to Delio Fernandez and Veloso...

Also, while Alarcon was never a great climber before his transformation he was a decent young rouleur who finished Paris-Roubaix as a neopro, a few minutes ahead of Niki Terpstra, who is 2 years older. Therefore I think that comparing his transformation to Moreira's isn't that unfair, even if Moreira still has a looong way to go until he reaches Balarcon levels of going thermonuclear.
 
Looking at the times on Strava Luis Fernandes climbed Torre 1min slower than Figueiredo in 2020.
Luis Fernandez climbed it in 1:00:06 an did 337W, at 63kg. Nothing special, but it was a very tactical ascent, he did the first steep part of the climb when they went hard in 23:01, 379W, so above 6.1 W/kg for over 20min at the start of a 1 hour climb, pretty respectable numbers.
The funny thing is that back in 2015 Daniel Silva did the whole climb im 57:06, 345W at a bodyweight of 59kg and still lost 34sec to Delio Fernandez and Veloso...

Also, while Alarcon was never a great climber before his transformation he was a decent young rouleur who finished Paris-Roubaix as a neopro, a few minutes ahead of Niki Terpstra, who is 2 years older. Therefore I think that comparing his transformation to Moreira's isn't that unfair, even if Moreira still has a looong way to go until he reaches Balarcon levels of going thermonuclear.
Yea, but the bigger problem is that Balarcón went thermonuclear when he was 30-31 (allowing for the strong Volta domestiquing performance the year Rui Vinhas won and Gustavo César threw all his toys out the pram) whereas Moreira is doing it at 25-26. If Balarcón had been at his 2016 level the first year he went to Portugal in 2011, or at least from the year he won the Gouveia stage (2013 I believe, when he moved from Efapel to Loulé), then it would be comparable to what Mauri is doing. The real problem was the five years of comparatively nondescript riding in Portugal that made his sudden emergence more ridiculous, when his more promising early performances (he was also 12th in the Vuelta a Asturias back in 2011, though that did draw a fairly middling field and have a poor reputation at the time, something of a hang-on from the LA-MSS 2008 show). He actually has better climbing results in his pre-transformation record than Moreira has, but Moreira doing this immediately on arrival in Portugal and at an age where he might feasibly still be improving is the flip side to that coin.

These wattages only make it more tragic that we don't have Frolov here to knock some sense into these fools.
 
Yeah, Balarcon is in his own league...

Sucks that we don't have a more international field because of Covid, imagine a Russian national team with all the ct sputniks and team Medellin returning again with granpa Sevilla, Tito Hernandez and all the others...
 
Since Alarcon has been taken out because of his bio-passport problems the cimbing speeds are still high, but no longer total WTF territory. Looks like they got people to tune it down a bit.
An example: Today Moreira did the final climb in 13:04, back in 2017 Marque and Joao Benta went 34/33sec faster, today they had 26°C, back then it was close to 35° hot. (Source: Strava)
 
Yeah, it sucks for younger cyclists from Portugal who want to make it outside of Portugal. That said, I like the races distinct identity and the amount of passion and fans that there is for such a small race, pretty much the antithesis of what the UCI's vision of a globalized sport with races in the middle of nowhere and with no fans because money is.

From what I've heard W52 is helping Alarcon fighting his suspension. He got a 4 year ban and all is results voided for 4 years, sonetimes it seems a bit random how those things happen (remember Menchov only loosing his Tour results, but keeping his other gt results?).
A part of me hopes he getsit changed to a backdated ban, comes back and starts dominating again.
 
Ok, so today Moreira climbed the senhora da Garca climb in 21:31, a VAM of 1757 on a climb at 7.5%, around 6.4 W/Kg for over 20min (Alarcon did the same climb in 21:05 and 20:55 in 2017 and 2018). The race blew up early on the Barreiro climb when the fastest did around 6 W/KG with over 40km to go.
That makes Moreira's whole ride a HC performance.
Hs ride on Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/5792497312/segments/2861675264456956028
No idea what's wrong with his PM/weight on Strava, the watts are all over the place and make zero sense if you compare it to the VAM and the numbers that other riders are pushing...
Efapel are on another level, 5 stage wins so far and tomorrow they'll probably get the 6th one and the GC, the only real question is if Reis will win his 4th stage or if Moreira will win another one. They probably could have won all the stages if they bothered to keep the breakaways in check.:oops:
 
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Ok, so today Moreira climbed the senhora da Garca climb in 21:31, a VAM of 1757 on a climb at 7.5%, around 6.4 W/Kg for over 20min (Alarcon did the same climb in 21:05 and 20:55 in 2017 and 2018). The race blew up early on the Barreiro climb when the fastest did around 6 W/KG with over 40km to go.
That makes Moreira's whole ride a HC performance.
Hs ride on Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/5792497312/segments/2861675264456956028
No idea what's wrong with his PM/weight on Strava, the watts are all over the place and make zero sense if you compare it to the VAM and the numbers that other riders are pushing...
Efapel are on another level, 5 stage wins so far and tomorrow they'll probably get the 6th one and the GC, the only real question is if Reis will win his 4th stage or if Moreira will win another one. They probably could have won all the stages if they bothered to keep the breakaways in check.:oops:
If only Brandao had stayed in Efapel instead of joining the dark side.
 
Ok, so today Moreira climbed the senhora da Garca climb in 21:31, a VAM of 1757 on a climb at 7.5%, around 6.4 W/Kg for over 20min (Alarcon did the same climb in 21:05 and 20:55 in 2017 and 2018). The race blew up early on the Barreiro climb when the fastest did around 6 W/KG with over 40km to go.
That makes Moreira's whole ride a HC performance.
Hs ride on Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/5792497312/segments/2861675264456956028
No idea what's wrong with his PM/weight on Strava, the watts are all over the place and make zero sense if you compare it to the VAM and the numbers that other riders are pushing...
Efapel are on another level, 5 stage wins so far and tomorrow they'll probably get the 6th one and the GC, the only real question is if Reis will win his 4th stage or if Moreira will win another one. They probably could have won all the stages if they bothered to keep the breakaways in check.:oops:
Unbelievable, 6.4 w/kg in a 20 min climb, it's enough to do a top 10 in tour france.
 
I would laugh so hard if Marque holds on, mind you.

If Balarcón does get his suspension backdated or reduced, this could be quite the spectacle, Balarcón vs. Melcior Mauri Moreira in a battle of the 90s heavyweight climbers... I just can't believe Moreira has given up on the hope of ever getting another high level ride again so soon and has decided that it's Portugal or bust for him unless he fancies a tilt at his dad's records back at home in Uruguay. He's only just turned 26.
 
I think Joao Rodrigues is the one who still hopes to get a contract outside of Portugal. Over the last 2 years he has tuned it down a bit. Still a monster climbing domestique, but his 2019 form was something else, winning mountain stages and smashing the tt despite making Pogacar look like Dumoulin on a TT bike...
 
I would laugh so hard if Marque holds on, mind you.

If Balarcón does get his suspension backdated or reduced, this could be quite the spectacle, Balarcón vs. Melcior Mauri Moreira in a battle of the 90s heavyweight climbers... I just can't believe Moreira has given up on the hope of ever getting another high level ride again so soon and has decided that it's Portugal or bust for him unless he fancies a tilt at his dad's records back at home in Uruguay. He's only just turned 26.
W52 or Tavira should ho for Najar when his suspension ends in May.
I also hope that we'll get Team Medellin again next year, when the whole travel situation will hopefully be a lot easier.
 
W52 or Tavira should ho for Najar when his suspension ends in May.
I also hope that we'll get Team Medellin again next year, when the whole travel situation will hopefully be a lot easier.
Rosón comes out of suspension in June next year too, perfect time to get some warmup races in. I also wonder if some of the younger Brazilians who are on the naughty step might come across, like Murilo Affonso and Caio Godoy. João Gaspar came out of suspension and was immediately linked to Portuguese teams, I think at one point might even have been signed but the contract either got stalled and then cancelled, or if signed, had to be voided, with the Covid travel restrictions.
 
Rosón comes out of suspension in June next year too, perfect time to get some warmup races in. I also wonder if some of the younger Brazilians who are on the naughty step might come across, like Murilo Affonso and Caio Godoy. João Gaspar came out of suspension and was immediately linked to Portuguese teams, I think at one point might even have been signed but the contract either got stalled and then cancelled, or if signed, had to be voided, with the Covid travel restrictions.
Gaspar was one of the 3 or 4 Funvic guys that got busted at the Volta a few years ago, iglf my memory serves me right. The team went PCT and still wanted to gear up properly for the Volta, what could go wrong? I wonder who told Funvic that going Pct was a good idea, vintage Funvic with the young guys plus Kleber Ramos, Alex Diniz and Flavio Santos would have been a great addition for the Volta.
It kinda surprises me that we don't see more guys from Bazil riding in Portugal.
That said, Diniz, Kleber Ramos and Magno Nazaret are all 35 and should be entering their Volta prime.
Godoy is the only guy that I know who got a 4 year ban for Cocaine, that always seemed a bit harsh, but maybe it had to do with his vintage Ullrich excuse.
 
Ok, Antunes who finished 67th in the prologue and was the worst w52 rider on that stage and also worse than Figueiredo is now finishing 4th in the final TT, ahead of all of his teammates. I know that he has always been better in longer tts because he isn't that explosive, but him beating Brandao and all his teammates, Carvalho, Marque and Veloso in a mid legth tt is just straight up bs.
 

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