The 35th Tour of Alentejo will start earlier this year from February 22 and 26, starting in Portalegre and final in Évora, in a race that went up this year.
This year's edition of the 'Alentejana', whose presentation was held today at the Câmara de Montemor-o-Novo, has as a novelty the fact that it has risen in rank in the hierarchy of the International Cyclist Union (UCI) and to be held earlier than With a squad of 152 cyclists from 19 teams, most of them foreign.
The change of the date, 'glued' to the Tour of the Algarve, and the rise of step are the result of a strategy to try to keep World Tour teams in Portugal, the director of the Tour of the Alentejo on bicycle, Joaquim Gomes told reporters.
"Increasingly, the great teams of international cycling consider participating in Portuguese races, provided it is in the first months of the year," he said, considering that in this year's edition "there will already be a jump in team quality."
However, the manager noted that "most of the teams that will be on the Algarve Tour is not yet structured to comply with this strategy", hoping that the results will come in the "medium and long term".
Rising from category to step 2.1, the Tour of Alentejo by bicycle, which in recent years has been running in the months of March or April, goes to the road on the 22nd of this month, three days after finishing the Tour of the Algarve.
The 'Alentejana' squad will have the participation of six Portuguese teams, all from the continental standings (Sporting / Tavira, RP / Boavista, LA Alumínios - Metalusa, Efapel, Louletano - Hospital de Loulé and W52 FC Porto).
Of the foreign teams, the Spaniard Movistar stands out, the only one of the World Tour ranking in the race, who won the world ranking in 2016 and that will count in its ranks with the Portuguese Nelson Oliveira and Nuno Bico.
Spain's Caja Rural and Euskadi Basque Country Murias, the Israeli Israel Cycling Academy, the Colombian Manzana Postobon Team and the Russian GazProm - Rusvelo will also participate in the Tour of the Alentejo by bicycle.
The list is complete with the North American Axes Hagens Berman and Rally Racing, the Norwegian Team Coop and Team Sparebanker, the Irish An Post Chain Reaction, the Polish CCC Sprandi Polkowice and the Dutch Metec TKH.
With five stages, a total of almost 900 kilometers, the race will start in Portalegre, with the arrival of the first stage scheduled for Castelo de Vide, in what is the smallest and most difficult route with four mountain counts.
In the second round, the runners will cross the Alentejo plains between Monforte and Portel, before the third day of competition, which connects Mourão to Mértola in the longest stage, with 208 kilometers.
The fourth day of the race is the Alentejo Coast, starting in Odemira and arriving at Alcácer do Sal, and the last stage will connect Ferreira do Alentejo to Évora, a total of almost 170 kilometers.
In the 34 editions of the Alentejana, no cyclist has ever managed to win the race twice, but this year among the pre-registered cyclists is the Spaniard Carlos Barbero (Movistar), who can break the tradition if he repeats the victory of 2014.
The Tour of Alentejo by bicycle is organized by Podium Events and the Intermunicipal Community of Central Alentejo (CIMAC).
- 22 feb, 1st stage: Portalegre - Castelo de Vide, 158 km.
- 23 feb, 2nd stage: Monforte - Portel, 171,3 km.
- 24 Feb, 3rd stage: Mourão - Mértola, 208 km.
- 25 feb, 4th stage: Odemira - Alcácer do Sal, 175.2 km.
- 26 feb, 5th stage: Ferreira do Alentejo - Évora, 168.9 km.