Without the usual party, but with the spirit of Return to Portugal cycling, the 5th stage of Back to Portugal Special Edition 2020 started from Oliveira do Hospital this Friday morning.
At Largo Robeiro Amaral, in the heart of the city, the gel alcohol dispensers were visible and the public, unlike other years, was far from the place where cyclists and team leaders and the organization were concentrated.
The cold and the rain were also present and, on the seventh time that the match took place in the city of Beira (it was like this in 1982, 1991, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2019), the number of spectators on the street was much lower.
“I would like Joni Brandão to win. I was even touched by his victory on arrival at the Tower, ”said António Amaro, who at 75 came from Lajeosa to the county seat to see the squad's departure.
“I think keeping the game here is a good option. The pandemic requires taking several measures, but it has to be this way ”, he confided.
“Good bet by the municipality”
Guarded by an umbrella was also Manuel Marques. “I like to see cycling and I think this is a good bet for the municipality. It is a Tour of Portugal that will remain in my memory and I would like it to be a Portuguese winner ”, assumed the resident of Oliveira do Hospital, 68 years old.
The rain would eventually give way, at the start, São Pedro “was a friend” of the 94 cyclists who started out in the 5th stage, and this helped some more people to go out on the street.
Maria Prazeres, 68 years old, although without her husband's company, did not hesitate to come until the start of the stage that started in Oliveira do Hospital and ended in Águeda (extension of 176.3 kilometers).
“I am close by, as I am from Oliveira do Hospital. The husband cannot come, so I came with the son. This event helps to distract from the problems ”, he assumed. Challenged to point out a winner, Maria just asked that the yellow jersey be won by a national runner: “I hope a Portuguese man wins”, she predicted.
Better day in trade
The presence of the caravan of the largest velocipedic race on the national calendar, ended up bringing a better day for commerce.
“It's a day with a better deal,” admitted Márcia Duarte, 27, employed at Café Jardim. “This morning we had more people. It is a good event for everyone, ”said Margarida Moura, 50, a colleague from Márcia.
The youngest of the employees, Bruno Almeida, 22, was the least contained in the words. “It's been a busy day and it turns out to be better than usual. Taking all precautions, I think it is an event that must be held ”, said the young man.
The mayor of Oliveira do Hospital, José Carlos Alexandrino, assumed that the municipality was supportive of cycling. “This is a different edition, but if in 2018 cycling was in solidarity with Oliveira do Hospital, today [ontem] it is the municipality to make its contribution to the race ”, he highlighted.
Strategy to publicize the municipality
Volta a Portugal is a bet that helps to promote the municipality. “This is a strategy to publicize the municipality. Today Oliveira do Hospital has its own identity and Volta a Portugal contributed to this ”, he guaranteed.
The president of União Velocipédica Portuguesa – Portuguese Cycling Federation (UVP / FPC), the organization that organizes this Special Edition, Delmino Pereira, makes a positive assessment of the race.
You can read the full story and see the images that marked the departure of the Volta a Portugal Special Edition of Oliveira do Hospital in the print and digital edition of DIÁRIO AS BEIRAS