The twilight zone called Portugal.

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pmcg76 said:
Will Routley finished 2nd overall and won a stage in a race in Portugal recently. People may recall he was one of the guys who was very vocal on the Garmin bans. Had a very strong anti-doping mentality. Great admiration for Routley as he is still an active cyclist who choose to speak out. Not sure what that says about the state of play in Portugal, maybe not as bad at this time of year.
As I pointed out in the Algarve thread, I find it interesting that since Liberty Seguros Continental folded back in 2009, the only Portuguese team to have any success in the Volta ao Algarve, the one time we see a comparatively A-list field in Portugal and therefore, you would think, one of the best shop windows these guys could have, is LA-Antarte, who tend not to be as competitive in the Volta against the might of Efapel and OFM/W52. Twice in recent years they've had riders in the lower edges of the top 10 (Edgar Pinto in 2014 and Amaro Antunes this year) and they also had the highest-placed domestic rider in the year in between. Cleanliness in the Portuguese péloton is a relative measure, of course, but it is very interesting to see how little a role the older guys who are all over the Volta play in those races, compared to the more comparatively young riders (Vilela for example had a few successful rides in the Algarve before escaping to Caja Rural).

I think for a period, Portuguese cycling was improving its position. After the collapse of two well-established teams (Maia in 2008, Liberty in 2009) there was a good deal of soul-searching, and we saw estrangeiro teams up at the front of the Volta for the first time in a while as well; riders like Hernâni Brôco, passed over for Volta selection at Liberty Seguros because "he didn't fit in", were putting in good results, and though there were still the likes of Blanco up there, it seemed like some progress had been made. The Volta really suffered from the economic downturn and especially from the collapse of so many of the Spanish second tier teams that had filled out the race as well, and this downturn hurt race fields and turned it into a largely provincial affair again, and led to the birth of the temp, riders hired in late June to ride the Trofeu Agostinho and the Volta, and a revision of the requirements for a Continental licence in order to re-energize the Portuguese péloton. The loss of a lot of those Spanish teams - in particular the Xacobeo-Galicia team, since riders from Galicia have traditionally seen Portugal as a good fit - has rather flooded the market with experienced Spanish pros who can command leadership positions again, although this time they've not come because of Puerto, but a lot of them have been around the block a few times and know what's what (César and Délio Fernández (who's now escaped to Delko) were both on Álvaro Pino's Xaco team for example) or are gambling to try to escape to the upper tiers (Alberto Gallego, for example, who tested positive less than a week into his contract with Caja Rural).

It once was that Spanish riders would go to Portugal for the better salaries. It isn't that anymore; it's more simply that Portugal actually has some teams, so while the calendar isn't great, riders can hope to catch enough eye to escape. A rider like Antunes can look at what people like André Cardoso and Tiago Machado have done in getting out of the scene and carving out a decent niche for themselves at the top tier; somebody like Gustavo César is 36 years old; he's probably thinking that he's not going to get out of the Portuguese domestic scene to a higher level at that age, and he's not going to beat the WT guys in February, so he may as well fill his boots in August.
TMobile41 said:
No mention of Joni Brandao @ Castilla/Leon, what do you guys think...suspicious? :confused:
Don't think so, has been progressing over the years and the performances are quite standard.

On the other hand he was second at last year's Volta a Portugal albeit quite far from MotorVeloso.
That he was so good at Castilla y León makes him less suspicious than the rest of the Portuguese (August) torpedos. Anyway, the terrain in CyL is the type you would say suits Joni a couple of years ago and where he had shown to be most promising. I'm happy he (and a couple of other Portuguese guys) could pull this, it's one less eyebrow I have frown at their Volta performances (controls being rigged for national riders, not daring going full genius outside the country)...
Troféu Joaquim Agostinho's last stage is tomorrow. It's the DL or TdS for the Volta a Portugal and as always W52 (Porto) are nowhere near the level of dominance they usually present at the Volta. Gustavo Veloso in particular is more than one minute behind people he'll beat by minutes in the real deal... Brace yourselves for another genius fest...
Sure, César was down on Montejunto which he won't be next month, but he was 2nd in the chrono behind a teammate (Rafa Reis) and W52 won today's stage with Raúl Alarcón too. 2/3 stages ain't bad for a team whose leader is laying low ready to lay waste to the bunch next month.
Yeah, sure but Rafael Reis winning the chrono is no big surprise specially in Portugal where the competition is so bad and even Alarcón winning today not a shock. The big thing is the disparity between the team in the mountains at Volta or in stage races like this. Winning stages that fit your riders is one thing, having 6 out of 10 guys in a group on a really hard mountain stage is another.

Nocentini in yellow is also a joke but I'll wait until he follows the more brilliant guys to pass my final judgement. I wasn't implying W52 were the only ones that doped in no way.
Mar 31, 2010

Cannibal72 said:
Fairly sure the race topic for the Volta in PRR should be merged into this thread.
portugese cycling has been cleaned up tremendously in the past 6 years.
If you think anything Fraudoome does is brilliant please watch the PIG, Doposo, sprinting at almost 40 km/h (52 seconds on the last 500m) in a fairly hard climb.

Parrulo said:

According to Jornal "A'Bola" there are 6 bio passport related doping cases in Portugal. All 5 guys will be called later this month to testify.

If we look earlier in this thread, it shouldn't be hard to find some of those names. . .
btw what happened with these hearings? Obviously nobody was banned or we would've heard about it at some point
Re: Re:

Libertine Seguros said:
PhiLiz said:
If you think anything Fraudoome does is brilliant please watch the PIG, Doposo, sprinting at almost 40 km/h (52 seconds on the last 500m) in a fairly hard climb.
The biggest difference between the Tour and the Volta is the prohibitive cost of subtlety.
I know our Volta is really a farse but at least just do this huge differences in the itt's... I'm not checking this buy don't think he has ever finished outside top 10 I'm any stage. I mean, it's just ludicrous such level of dominance. Just retire or have a carrier ending crash already.

I know it sounds bad but we've been having 10 years of idiots like Nuno Ribeiro (w52 DD of course) or washed up mid 30's spanish donks turning into Dawgs.
This is so frustrating. Even more so than Sky at the Tour. Here's a guy who's giving it all, going 80km's out in the queen stage having his chances sabotaged by the collective might of w52. Despite the chase, they manage to put 3 guys in the freaking top 5.

And what about Ricardo Mestre, who's been an absolute non-factor everywhere he's been since winning the Volta, returns to Tavira last year only to flop and now has the climbing legs of his life? He'd be in contention if he wasn't doing domestique work.

Absolute vomit of a race despite the good racing by one or two teams.

Edit: oh well, since it's hard to believe Joni is on pan y água I got to hand it to César, because he's been the superior rider. Just think it'd be much closer without an über-strong postal train.
Looking at the results, having only watched Senhora live, this still seems x5 the race than the French kermesse in July.... THAT was an absolute vomit of a race. Not necessarily because of Sky, but because of Quintana and Contador. At least Joni tries and is capable.
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