“It was a moment of great joy for national cycling, a historic moment, with results never achieved before,” explained the federation leader, after the end of the 103rd edition of the Volta a Itália.
Rúben Guerreiro was the king of the mountain, after winning the ninth stage, and João Almeida ended up finishing in fourth place after leading the race for 15 days, with Delmino Pereira praising “the heroic way he defended” the ‘pink jersey’ during that time.
This success, he added, “represents the affirmation of a new generation of cyclists”.
“The sport is experiencing great growth, it is more international, with a new generation of riders who all have an ambition to have results. Meet the profile of our new emigrant. We export talent across the world, in all activities and also in sport”, he said.
This “affirmation of cycling and sport as a successful Portuguese product” is particularly important in a year marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, with most Portuguese teams in financial difficulties and considering their future in 2021.
“Help does not solve all problems, but it helps a lot to solve the new challenges of cycling, which has a direct dependence on the economy and the investment capacity of companies, and which has a special interaction with the public, which we cannot currently explore”, he said.
Despite this “wave”, which will “contribute to the many difficulties that lie ahead”, 2021 sees a “hard and difficult” recovery, at a “time when the bicycle itself has had an increase in its use like never before in its history”.
“It is important because it encourages new generations to believe that it is possible. They can also complete a journey such as this”, he concluded.
João Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) led overall for 15 days, finishing finally in fourth place, the best classification ever of a Portuguese cyclist, and Rúben Guerreiro managed to win one of the main classifications, that of the mountain, a feat unprecedented in Portuguese cycling.
The 103rd edition of the Volta a Itália ended with British cyclist Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS), taking the victory following the conclusion of the individual time trial which was held in Milan.