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cj2002

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35th Volta ao Alentejo
« on: February 21, 2017, 10:28 »


Unless you follow every small race in every country, you would be forgiven for not having heard of the Volta ao Alentejo. Indeed, you could be forgiven for not having heard of the region itself. Sitting south and east of Lisbon (with the river Tejo the northern border), but falling short of the south coast, Alentejo is an area that ranges from beaches, across rolling plains, to harsh mountains near the Spanish border.

All of which has provided excellent terrain for cycling, every year since 1983. This year, for the first time, the race is ranked as 2.1, and a World Tour team - Movistar - will line up alongside the usual collection of domestic and imported Continental squads.

The Teams

Sporting - Tavira #sporting *pt
RP - Boavista #boavista *pt
LA Alumínios - Metalusa #metalusa *pt
Efapel #efapel *pt
Louletano – Hospital de Loulé #louletano *pt
W52 - FC Porto #porto *pt
Movistar Team #movistar *es
Caja Rural - Seguros RGA #cajarural *es
Israel Cycling Academy #academy *il
Manzana Postobon  #manzana *co
GazProm - Rusvelo #gazprom *ru
Euskadi Basque Country Murias  #murias *es
Axeon Hagens Berman #axeon *usa
Team Sparebanker Sor #sparsor *no
Rally Racing #rally *usa
An Post Chain Reaction  #anpost *ie
CCC Sprandi Polkowice  #ccc *pl
METEC TKH #metec *nl
Team Coop  #coop *no

The Route

No time trial, no big summit finishes, and only one really obvious sprint stage, the route is pretty much 5 days of relentless up and down. Thankfully, Alentejo in February is generally more hospitable than Alentejo in the summer. But if Movistar were expecting an easy early-season training ride against lesser opposition, they might find that Alentejo has as much bite as it has bark[1].

Stage 1: Portalegre - Castelo de Vide (158 km)




Stage 2: Monforte - Portel (171.3 km)




Stage 3: Mourão - Mértola (208 km)




Stage 4: Alcácer do Sal - Odemira (175.2 km)




Stage 5: Ferreira do Alentejo - Évora (168.9 km)




Runners and Riders, and CJ's Picks

The Volta ao Algarve has hosted the big teams for a few years now, so they know what to expect. Alentejo offers a more realistic chance for the local teams to give their better-paid colleagues a bloody nose. That said, Andrey Amador #movistar will be starting, and the terrain would seem to suit him as he prepares for the spring season. Adriano Malori, as well as home stars Nuno Bico and Nelson Oliveira, offer support.

Home interest - outside of the domestic teams - is also provided by Ricardo Vilela #manzana and Ivo Oliveira #axeon. The former had a strong end to last season, including 3rd in the National Championships and 10th on GC at the Volta Portugal. The latter has until now been juggling track racing with U23 road races on the domestic scene. This is his first race with his new team - it remains to be seen how quickly he can find his feet in the elite peloton[2].

But it is the 6 Portuguese teams who have the most to gain from a strong performance on home roads. Despite his final stage victory in Algarve, Amaro Antunes is rested for this week's action. Anyone hoping that this weakens W52-FC Porto #porto will, therefore, be disappointed to see Gustavo Veloso at the top of the start list. Sergio Paulinho leads Efapel #efapel again, and will be looking to improve on an average-at-best showing in Algarve. Baby brother Pedro lines up for Louletano #louletano, but will likely take on a supporting role.



 1. That's a cork tree joke. I'm literally the only person who will find it funny
 2. I presume they will be at the end of his legs, clipped on to his pedals, but who knows what other marginal gains the team might have found
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    LukasCPH

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    Re: 35th Volta ao Alentejo
    « Reply #1 on: February 21, 2017, 12:43 »
    But if Movistar were expecting an easy early-season training ride against lesser opposition, they might find that Alentejo has as much bite as it has bark[1].
     1. That's a cork tree joke. I'm literally the only person who will find it funny
    I laughed! :lol

    Home interest - outside of the domestic teams - is also provided by Ricardo Vilela #manzana and Ivo Oliveira #axeon. The former had a strong end to last season, including 3rd in the National Championships and 10th on GC at the Volta Portugal. The latter has until now been juggling track racing with U23 road races on the domestic scene. This is his first race with his new team - it remains to be seen how quickly he can find his feet in the elite peloton[2].
     2. I presume they will be at the end of his legs, clipped on to his pedals, but who knows what other marginal gains the team might have found
    Didn't laugh at this one. :fp
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    cj2002

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    Re: 35th Volta ao Alentejo
    « Reply #2 on: February 21, 2017, 12:45 »
    I laughed! :lol

    [...]

    Didn't laugh at this one. :fp

    50% success rate... I'll take it.
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    Of course, if this turns out someday to be the industry standard integrated handlebar-computer-braking solution then I'll eat my kevlar-reinforced aerodynamic hat.

    Larri Nov 12, 2014

    cj2002

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    Re: 35th Volta ao Alentejo
    « Reply #5 on: February 22, 2017, 12:42 »
    Stage 1 is rolling...

    Live ticker here, in Portuguese (surprisingly enough).

    After 22km, the Canadian pairing of Matteo Dal-Cin #rally and Sean Mackinnon  #anpost have 2'40" on the pack.
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    Re: 35th Volta ao Alentejo
    « Reply #8 on: February 22, 2017, 14:41 »
     :(
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  • cj2002

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    Re: 35th Volta ao Alentejo
    « Reply #9 on: February 22, 2017, 15:09 »
    Break reeled in 60km from the finish... if you'd forgotten (or otherwise not read my preview in detail), the last 60km are somewhat saw-toothed...  :cool
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    Re: 35th Volta ao Alentejo
    « Reply #11 on: February 22, 2017, 15:47 »
    https://www.facebook.com/CyclingAcademyTeam/videos/vb.515137875256442/878800335556859/?type=3&theater

    Live video from the Bike Geeeeeks car. They think about 25 riders in the front group.

    Giving out their tactics for the world to hear. :-x
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  • cj2002

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    Re: 35th Volta ao Alentejo
    « Reply #12 on: February 22, 2017, 16:17 »
    Lol-centini...

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    Re: 35th Volta ao Alentejo
    « Reply #13 on: February 23, 2017, 08:43 »


    Short highlights including the finish.

    Tratnik didn't do too bad considering he was sick.

    https://twitter.com/JTratnik/status/834343609994457089
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    Re: 35th Volta ao Alentejo
    « Reply #14 on: February 23, 2017, 13:57 »
    https://twitter.com/TeamManzana/status/834763395702411265

    Dunbar, Hagen, Vorobyev and Trondsen.

    Schlegel DNF after a crash.
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    Re: 35th Volta ao Alentejo
    « Reply #15 on: February 23, 2017, 15:28 »
    https://twitter.com/TeamManzana/status/834763395702411265

    Down to three as Hagen sat up after getting some bonifications.
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  • cj2002

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    Re: 35th Volta ao Alentejo
    « Reply #16 on: February 23, 2017, 15:53 »
    Movistar led the peloton and reeled in the break. It came down to a sprint.

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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: 35th Volta ao Alentejo
    « Reply #17 on: February 23, 2017, 15:56 »
    #metec Johim Ariesen! :win

    When will this guy get a pro contract?
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  • cj2002

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    Re: 35th Volta ao Alentejo
    « Reply #18 on: February 24, 2017, 12:18 »
    We've been underway in today's 208km 3rd stage for just over an hour now. Adrien Costa #axeon tried to make a getaway but was reeled back in.

    Carlos Barbero #movistar #yellow took maximum bonus seconds at the first sprint point.

    Peletão compacto, still.
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    Re: 35th Volta ao Alentejo
    « Reply #19 on: February 24, 2017, 13:03 »
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    Re: 35th Volta ao Alentejo
    « Reply #20 on: February 24, 2017, 14:52 »
    20km or so to go, the break (one did eventually go clear, including Dominico Gonçalves, Anton Vorobyev and Evan Huffman) has been caught, and the intense pace as split the peloton in 2. 30 seconds' gap between the two halves at the moment.
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    Re: 35th Volta ao Alentejo
    « Reply #21 on: February 24, 2017, 15:32 »
    Bunch sprint, after all that... Sebastian Molano #manzana takes it. Chris Lawless #axeon, who had already scored an excellent 5th yesterday, finished 2nd.



    Barbero took the final intermediate bonus second, too, to maintain his grip on #yellow (I assume...)

    EDIT: Barbero also finished 3rd in the final sprint, ahead of Ariesen, neither of whom showed up on the initial results... They are credited as being 2" down on Molano and Lawless.

    EDIT 2: I assume correctly. Or, at least, I assume the same as his team. Movistar tweeting that Barbero keeps #yellow by 12" from Lol-centini #sporting
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    Re: 35th Volta ao Alentejo
    « Reply #22 on: February 24, 2017, 16:33 »
    #manzana :win

    Need #axeon Lawless and Owen to score me some CQ points in this race, doing ok so far
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  • cj2002

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    Re: 35th Volta ao Alentejo
    « Reply #23 on: February 24, 2017, 16:38 »
    Interestingly, there is an ongoing debate as to who is actually leading the Youth Classification.

    The rules published by the race organisers (Podium, who are normally excellent, it must be said) state that any rider born after 1 January 1994 is eligible for the white jersey. Now, this means that 23 year-olds are eligible, which goes against the UCI regulation that U23 riders are those "aged 19 to 22".

    The current theory is that the organisers (usually excellent, remember) forgot to update the date on the rules from last year (as someone who often works from previous documents as a template, it's very easily done).

    Eddie Dunbar #axeon is officially leading that classification at the moment. It's his teammate, Logan Owen, who is the best-placed actual U23 rider. Watch this space.
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    Re: 35th Volta ao Alentejo
    « Reply #24 on: February 24, 2017, 16:48 »
    So cool to see the news  #manzana
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  • search

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    Re: 35th Volta ao Alentejo
    « Reply #25 on: February 24, 2017, 16:53 »
    Interestingly, there is an ongoing debate as to who is actually leading the Youth Classification.

    The rules published by the race organisers (Podium, who are normally excellent, it must be said) state that any rider born after 1 January 1994 is eligible for the white jersey. Now, this means that 23 year-olds are eligible, which goes against the UCI regulation that U23 riders are those "aged 19 to 22".

    I don't think there are any UCI rules in regard to what jerseys are allowed to be handed out, apart from the fact that they need to be "based exclusively on sporting criteria". If it says January 1st 1994, in the race regulations, that's how it is. They could also hand out a U35 jersey if they like to.
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    cj2002

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    Re: 35th Volta ao Alentejo
    « Reply #26 on: February 24, 2017, 17:17 »
    I don't think there are any UCI rules in regard to what jerseys are allowed to be handed out, apart from the fact that they need to be "based exclusively on sporting criteria". If it says January 1st 1994, in the race regulations, that's how it is. They could also hand out a U35 jersey if they like to.

    Well, true...

    Also, if it was an Over-35 jersey, Lol-centini would be winning by a mile.  :lol
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  • search

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    Re: 35th Volta ao Alentejo
    « Reply #27 on: February 24, 2017, 18:16 »
    what's your problem with the Walnut, CJ? :D
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    Re: 35th Volta ao Alentejo
    « Reply #28 on: February 24, 2017, 23:13 »
    Like search says, there is nothing in the UCI rules that stipulates what the age cut-off for a youth classification must be - in fact, there is nothing in the rules about classification jerseys other than that there must be a GC jersey.

    Organisers are free to choose whichever cut-off they want. I've seen U25, U23, even U21 (in 2.2U races) - so why shouldn't they have a U24 jersey here?

    The theory that they forgot to update the regulations is a good one ... but: Last year, the then-2.2 Volta ao Alentejo didn't have a classification of the best young rider. Therefore I assume that the U24 classification has been made U24 on purpose for whatever reason.
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  • just some guy

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    Re: 35th Volta ao Alentejo
    « Reply #29 on: February 26, 2017, 08:37 »


    Nice win for the kid and for the WT factory *usa version
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