Golden anniversary celebrated with «best peloton ever» in the Volta ao Algarve

The test was officially presented on the afternoon of this Thursday, February 1st, in the auditorium of the Algarve Tourism Region, in Faro

It is the «best peloton ever» and will guarantee that, in the year in which the Volta ao Algarve celebrates its golden anniversary, there will be «excitement until the end». Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step), Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers), Wout van Aert (Team Visma), Tao Geoghegan Hart (Lidl-Trek), but also the Portuguese João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) are some of the strong names in the competition that lasts from February 14th to 18th. 

The test was officially presented on the afternoon of this Thursday, February 1st, in the auditorium of the Algarve Tourism Region, in Faro.

The list of 174 runners includes winners of grand tours (Tour de France, Vuelta and Giro de Italia), Olympic, world and European champions, great international experts in stage races, sprinters, climbers and top time trialists.

In total, there are 23 men in the world's top 100: one of them is Remco Evenpoel, who has already won the Volta ao Algarve twice (2020 and 2022), as well as the Vuelta, in Spain, in 2022.

He is also joined by Geraint Thomas (winner of the Volta ao Algarve in 2015 and 2016 and also of the Tour in 2018), Sepp Kuss (Team Visma), who won the Vuelta in 2023, Tao Geoghegan Hart (Lidl-Trek), winner of the Giro in 2020, Daniel Martínez, who won the Volta ao Algarve last year, and the Portuguese João Almeida, the biggest figure in Portuguese cycling today.

Speaking to journalists, Delmino Pereira, president of the Portuguese Cycling Federation, considered that this is an edition that “promises”.

Despite the «slight changes» to the route, with the time trial leaving Lagoa and heading towards Albufeira, the «traditional model» of the Volta ao Algarve remains, with «two sprint finishes, two in the mountains» and the time trial.

«It is a race that has a balanced perspective and where many runners can win. The emotion, from the outset, will be guaranteed until the end», said the person in charge.

Asked who he would bet on to win the race, Delmino Pereira expressed his desire to be Portuguese.

«I would bet on João Almeida or Rui Costa [laughs]. Obviously competitiveness is very high and we want there to be no winner announced in advance,” he said.

Also worthy of attention are the Swiss Stefan Bissegger (EF Education-EasyPost), European champion in 2022, and Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), European champion in 2021 and winner of the Volta ao Algarve time trial in 2019 and 2023.

The Italian Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers), world champion in 2020 and 2021 and second overall in the Volta ao Algarve last year, is also registered and promises to intervene in the discussion of the time trial and the yellow jersey.

In the stages leading up to the sprint, strong emotions are also expected, as the protagonists will be of a high level.

Among the sprinters present are the second active runner with the most career victories, Arnaud Démare (Arkéa-B&B Hotels), Alberto Dainese (Tudor Pro Cycling), winner of stages in the Giro and Vuelta in 2023, Jordi Meeus (BORA-hansgrohe ), first to arrive at the Champs Elysées in the 2023 Tour, Gerben Thijssen (Intermarché-Wanty), Marc Sarreau (Groupama-FDJ), Casper van Uden (Team dsm-firmenich PostNL), Søren Wærenskjold (Uno-X Mobility), Marijn van den Berg (EF Education-EasyPost) or Edward Theuns (Lidl-Trek).





The list of Portuguese present is also robust.

In addition to the aforementioned João Almeida and Rui Costa, António Morgado (UAE Team Emirates) is also called up, whose main mission will be to work for the team, but is a candidate for the title of best young player, Iúri Leitão (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Rui Oliveira (UAE Team Emirates), who are in a position to intervene in the discussion of the sprint finishes.

As for the route, Portimão will host the start of the competition, being the location for the presentation of the teams and the start of the 200,8 kilometers that will take the caravan to Lagos, where a discussion of the sprint is expected.

The second stage leaves from Lagoa and arrives, after covering 171,9 kilometers, at the top of Fóia. The final phase of the race, passing through the steep climb to Pomba and with a bonus-priced finishing line already after Monchique and in the middle of the climb towards the finish line, promises excitement.

The sprinters should have another opportunity in the third stage, 192,2 kilometers to be covered between Vila Real de Santo António and Tavira.

The big news of the 50th edition appears on the fourth day. This is an unprecedented 22-kilometre time trial, departing from Albufeira Marina and arriving at the Town Hall of the same city. The race ends with the long-awaited stage ending at the top of Malhão. This time it will be 165,8 kilometers, starting in Faro.

João Paulo Correia, Secretary of State for Youth and Sports, considered this to be one of the «competitions with the greatest international prominence in Portuguese sport».

«The Volta ao Algarve features the best cyclists in the world and this is recognition», he added.

Addressing the issue of doping and the difficulties that the sport has had due to successive cases, João Paulo Correia made a point of talking about the «biological passport», the «most effective method of control and combat» that is already implemented in Portugal and which will be used in the Volta ao Algarve.

"This passport means that the authorities have a film of what the athlete's body is like throughout the season, through blood samples taken outside the competition, during training periods and after the competition", he said.

Furthermore, in addition to the thousands of fans, who travel from various parts of Portugal and around the world to watch the stages, the Volta ao Algarve program also includes two cycling events for everyone, allowing amateur cyclists and bicycle enthusiasts to actively participate in the cycling festival in the Algarve.

On the 17th, Albufeira will host the Algarve Granfondo, giving participants the opportunity to choose between two challenges, the 133 kilometers of the granfondo and the 80 kilometers of the mediofondo. In addition to physical activity and socializing, you will also be able to watch the international stars ride, who will be in Albufeira for the time trial on the same day.

On the 18th it will be the turn of the unprecedented Algarve Crono Challenge, starting from Salir at a controlled speed and timed ascent to Alto do Malhão, municipality of Loulé.

More than a thousand participants are expected in the two cycling events combined for everyone.



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