W52 / FC Porto dominated the Tour de Portugal for the fourth year in a row and this time won the Algarve's João Rodrigues, who won the decisive time trial and won the final 'yellow jersey'.
“This year, it came to me. I had the opportunity and got the best out of it. I had six warriors by my side who surrounded me and did everything to make me win the Tour de Portugal, ”the portista team rider told RTP at the end of the race.
“We have this goal every time. Winning the Tour, the most important race in Portugal, is our priority and we made it back, ”added João Rodrigues, 24, a Tavira native with family roots in Faz Fato.
The rider succeeded in the list of winners of the race Rui Vinhas (2016) and Raul Alarcón (2017 and 2018), all at the service of W52 / FC Porto.
The last Algarvian cyclist winner of the «Grandíssima» had been Ricardo Mestre, in 2011, then at Tavira / Prio and today Rodrigues's colleague at W52 / FC Porto.
In the middle of the Aliados avenue, with the Portista public providing a great atmosphere, the Algarve, who had already won at the top of the Tower, was the fastest in the "crono", winning 27 seconds to Joni Brandão (Efapel), who held the lead by hundredths of a second and was 3rd in the stage after António Carvalho (W52 / FC Porto), 2nd.
“It's a unique emotion. The human warmth was impressive all the way, ”said João Rodrigues, who knew he had to give everything.
“I had already said that whoever recovered from the effort, who had better legs, would have the best day. Fortunately, my legs responded the best and I managed to win, ”he said.
After a titanic fight in the mountains, the truth is that João Rodrigues – who became W52 / FC Porto's head of line after a bad day from Gustavo Veloso – and Joni Brandão arrived on the last day equal.
“The mountains made no difference. The forces were equal and it was the time trial that made the difference. 27 seconds was a significant difference, ”he said.
The tavirense rider will now celebrate the triumph and declined to comment on his role in the portista team in the future.
“I'm very happy. I'm going to party with the whole team, all the staff. Everyone who believed in me, let's have the party, ”he said.
João Rodrigues closed the Tour de Portugal with 40: 57.04 hours traveled on the road. Joni Brandão was 2nd, 27 seconds, followed by three Porto runners: Gustavo Veloso, 1.08 minutes, António Carvalho, 2.32 minutes, and Edgar Pinto, 3.14 minutes.
The 'top-10' had no representative of Algarve teams, given the dropouts of their best cyclists, Vicente de Mateos (Aviludo / Louletano) and Frederico Figueiredo (Sporting / Tavira).
Luís Fernandes (Aviludo / Louletano) was 12th at 8.01 minutes, Alejandro Marque (Sporting / Tavira) 14th at 11.54 minutes and Tiago Machado (Sporting / Tavira) 15th at 12.06 minutes.
Also of note is the portimonense from Emanuel Duarte (LA Aluminum / LA Sports), who wore the 'white jersey', leader symbol of the Youth classification.