Portuguese cycling has changed, quite suddenly and from one season to the next. Before it was fully professional, with many hilly stage races of a very high standard. Now there are three. A 2.2, 2.1, 2.1. Is this bad? Many believe that portuguese cycling had grow beyond it means and regard this change as an evolution and that it will give rise to a big pro team, rather like Team Sky, i.e. nationaly representative.
A extremelly possitive development is the fact that dope control has become very rigorous.
The race was strange, no radios meant few people took initiative and many times the speed came right down to 20kph, to shoot up to 60kph, there was no particularly impressive riding, unless you count the last 30k. Which my team took at incredible speed. The last 8k covered at over 60kph. My team mate Samuel Caldeira came thrid in the sprint and said the team had done a perfect job.
I had the rather tiresome and boring task of riding on the front for ages, infact we controled most of the race with only 2-3 riders. Better than hanging on in the bunch, but not nearly as much fun as if we had blown the race appart. Oh well!
Now I will go to the Volta ao Algarve and be out of touch. However I will post next Monday my views on the race and how it went. The course profile can be found here:
It's a very tricky, hilly race, with horrible weather predicted.