At the Volta ao Alentejo I spent the majority of every single stage on the front of the bunch controlling the race.

All four days.

Our sprinter was quite well placed to win the race, so I was quite happy to do this.

Stage One

On stage one we controlled the race at high speed along with Efapel, our rivals, with whom we called a rare truce and pulled together to control the race.

I actually really enjoyed this stage, as David Blanco was the “rival” it was really nice to catch up with David and I enjoyed working with him.

I wasn’t capable of passing the last mountain in the front, since I got caught up behind a massive crash, nor did I feel obliged to since I had already done so much to shape the race.

I came home in the grupetto which is always fun. Caldeira, the sprinter came second in this stage, which was a great start to the race!

My Tavira team.

Stage Two

Stage two was more of the same, we weren’t in the lead, but the boss thought we’d control the race anyway. We did, but this time it was a bit tougher -we averaged 48kph for the first two fours.

I was feeling good though. At one point the wind changed and teams were trying to form echelons I kept getting in first one, these attempts at breaking the race up meant the break me and my team mate Nelson Victorino worked so hard to keep at 1:30 min for over 100km got reabsorbed and we were handed the less fun task of controlling the race without a breakaway to acts as a hare.

I dropped off on the last lump before the finish line as the next day more of the same awaited. Unfortunately Caldeira only got 4th on this stage, but he was in yellow thanks to bonifications on some intermediate sprints.

By wearing yellow, the responsibility to control the race fell upon our rivals.

We only had to make sure none of them got in the break! I felt pretty awful at the start of the race, it was chaotic and disorganized.

About 75km into the race I’m told to go set the pace… So I did, but felt pretty fragile. I and a young team mate, Diogo Nunes set the pace till the final 20km where CCC Polsat went hit the front!

It was beautiful watching the race split into echelons, it’s cycling at it’s best!

Stage Three

On the final day we had to a race to win, we only needed Caldeira to finish in the top three.

I, Nelson and Diogo hit the front and controlled the race all the way to a mountain just before the finish. Caldeira had a bit of an incident near the finish where someone smashed his rear wheel.

He came fourth.

We lost the race.

You can watch a video of the sprint here.

National events coming up:

Volta a Santa Maria, Taça de Portugal, Round 1.

These national races are tough… The amateur teams are invited, fewer police to close the road, and a couple of hundred euros prize money.

They’re raced with the same or more vigour than the bigger races! They are very dangerous compared with the 2.1, 2.2 races, so you have to have your wits about you.

We’ve won a couple of these, which is great. It’s fun to rock up to a race with no pressure and have a blast racing a bike.

This weekend I’m back in the north of Portugal to race G. P. Liberty Seguros. It’s raining and we’ve got a tough little race ahead, with lots of hills and cobbles!

Result - Volta ao Alentejo 2012

Overall Classification

1 164 RUS19871029 A0099 Alexey KUNSHIN Elite Lokosphinx 16:16:32 89 -14
2 1 POR19840515 12436 Filipe CARDOSO Elite EFAPEL/GLASSDRIVE m.t. 137 -15
3 21 POR19851130 21072 Samuel CALDEIRA Elite CARMIM/PRIO a 0:00:01 14 -14
4 171 ESP19890328 72745557 Jon ABERASTURI Elite Orbea Continental a 0:00:08 21 -7
5 64 POR19870228 20675 Marco CUNHA Elite Liberty Seguros/Feira a 0:00:09 30 -6
6 12 POR19890213 21986 José GONÇALVES Elite ONDA m.t. 37 -6
7 88 POR19891025 19961 Antonio CARVALHO Elite Mortágua m.t. 40 -6
8 33 POR19791214 6062 Hugo SABIDO Elite LA/ANTARTE m.t. 84 -6
9 135 NED19901130 96003845 Marc GOOS Sub-23 Rabobank Continental Team a 0:00:10 78 -5
10 134 NED19921124 96030597 Daan OLIVIER Sub-23 Rabobank Continental Team a 0:00:11 72 -4
11 123 RUS19900717 A0124 Sergey POMOSHNIKOV Sub-23 Itera/Katusha a 0:00:13 67 -2
12 133 NED19890411 96001930 Marco MINNAARD Elite Rabobank Continental Team a 0:00:15 45 0
13 63 POR19901114 20842 Rafael SILVA Sub-23 Liberty Seguros/Feira m.t. 62 0
14 145 POL19840911 PL204 Bartlomiej MATYSIAK Elite CCC Polsat/Polkowice m.t. 65 0
15 18 POR19830220 12293 Hélder OLIVEIRA Elite ONDA m.t. 66 0
16 143 POL19890324 PL199 Grzegorz STEPNIAK Elite CCC Polsat/Polkowice a 0:00:16 72 -7
17 66 POR19900114 22283 Luís AFONSO Sub-23 Liberty Seguros/Feira a 0:00:24 106 0
18 65 POR19910525 29040 Frederico FIGUEIREDO Sub-23 Liberty Seguros/Feira m.t. 119 0
19 185 ESP19921104 53764659 Carlos VERONA Sub-23 Burgos BH/ Castilla e Leon a 0:00:30 177 0
20 138 GER19930129 KT605182 Ruben ZEPUNTKE Sub-23 Rabobank Continental Team a 0:00:31 119 0
21 82 POR19931216 27381 António BARBIO Sub-23 Mortágua m.t. 119 0
22 22 POR19830911 18581 Ricardo MESTRE Elite CARMIM/PRIO m.t. 143 0
23 147 POL19880227 PL207 Adrian HONKISZ Elite CCC Polsat/Polkowice m.t. 144 0
24 3 POR19801128 9962 Sérgio RIBEIRO Elite EFAPEL/GLASSDRIVE m.t. 151 -1
25 167 RUS19880319 A0100 Dmitry SOKOLOV Elite Lokosphinx m.t. 160 0
26 142 POL19900224 PL202 Lukasz OWSIAN Sub-23 CCC Polsat/Polkowice a 0:00:39 171 0
27 141 POL19810508 PL200 Marek RUTKIEWICZ Elite CCC Polsat/Polkowice a 0:00:41 154 -2
28 165 RUS19920108 A0102 Evgeny SHALUNOV Sub-23 Lokosphinx a 0:00:57 125 0
29 176 ESP19910429 71300528 Carlos BARBERO Sub-23 Orbea Continental a 0:01:21 196 0
30 181 FRA19860729 0264330309 Damien BRANAA Elite Burgos BH/ Castilla e Leon a 0:01:29 218 -2
31 43 ARG19830705 — Jorge MONTENEGRO Elite Louletano/Dunas Douradas a 0:01:36 122 -10
32 77 POR19920921 20908 Ricardo FERREIRA Sub-23 Maia a 0:01:37 127 0
33 146 POL19840619 PL198 Mateusz TACIAK Elite CCC Polsat/Polkowice a 0:01:41 229 0
34 126 RUS19900123 A0131 Igor FROLOV Sub-23 Itera/Katusha a 0:01:47 152 -8
35 191 GER19810909 KT170081 Markus FOTHEN Elite Team NSP/ Ghost m.t. 190 0
36 154 RSA19850828 17632 Hanco KACHELHOFFER Elite Team Bonitas a 0:01:53 170 0
37 132 NED19900126 96037469 Brian MEGENS Sub-23 Rabobank Continental Team m.t. 172 0
38 148 POL19881014 PL209 Pawel CHARUCKI Elite CCC Polsat/Polkowice m.t. 226 0
39 182 ESP19881105 45835035 Manuel ANTON Elite Burgos BH/ Castilla e Leon a 0:01:54 97 0
40 161 RUS19860104 A0098 Mikhail ANTONOV Elite Lokosphinx a 0:01:55 157 0
41 136 NED19930909 96028724 Martijn TUSVELD Sub-23 Rabobank Continental Team a 0:02:00 152 0
42 192 GER19781019 KT190145 Steffen RADOCHLA Elite Team NSP/ Ghost a 0:02:01 102 0
43 156 RSA19820820 67480 Darren LILL Elite Team Bonitas a 0:02:08 200 -9
44 173 ESP19890819 72511690 Aritz BAGÜES Elite Orbea Continental a 0:02:09 229 -1
45 14 ESP19860217 78738666 Delio FERNANDEZ Elite ONDA a 0:02:14 118 0
46 2 POR19831011 20600 Sérgio SOUSA Elite EFAPEL/GLASSDRIVE a 0:02:54 241 0
47 27 POR19841022 19448 Luís SILVA Elite CARMIM/PRIO a 0:02:58 253 0
48 183 POR19891120 X13494205X Joni BRANDÃO Elite Burgos BH/ Castilla e Leon a 0:03:12 235 0
49 44 POR19840102 19503 Celestino PINHO Elite Louletano/Dunas Douradas m.t. 275 0
50 61 POR19900501 19978 André MOURATO Sub-23 Liberty Seguros/Feira a 0:03:22 177 -3
51 162 RUS19900304 A0101 Sergey BELYKH Sub-23 Lokosphinx a 0:03:40 222 0
52 8 POR19770909 6583 Nuno RIBEIRO Elite EFAPEL/GLASSDRIVE a 0:03:45 289 0
53 187 ESP19891015 41523784 Luis MAS Elite Burgos BH/ Castilla e Leon a 0:04:00 169 0
54 125 RUS19920308 A0133 Alexander FOLIFOROV Sub-23 Itera/Katusha m.t. 242 0
55 62 POR19900527 24002 Pedro PAULINHO Sub-23 Liberty Seguros/Feira a 0:04:04 181 0
56 137 GER19931207 KT603234 Rick ZABEL Sub-23 Rabobank Continental Team a 0:04:07 151 0
57 7 POR19861210 21015 César FONTE Elite EFAPEL/GLASSDRIVE a 0:04:22 239 0
58 131 NED19901030 95905429 Melvin BOSKAMP Sub-23 Rabobank Continental Team a 0:05:04 230 0
59 68 POR19900323 29015 João CORREIA Sub-23 Liberty Seguros/Feira a 0:05:21 247 0
60 102 POR19871202 22501 Luis FERNANDES Elite OFM/Valongo a 0:05:37 245 0
61 151 RSA19891211 8689 Jason BAKKE Elite Team Bonitas a 0:06:02 248 0
62 34 POR19820204 25188 Hugo SANCHO Elite LA/ANTARTE a 0:06:51 219 0
63 36 POR19850424 17756 José MENDES Elite LA/ANTARTE a 0:06:52 205 0
64 153 RSA19870330 72780 Herman FOUCHE Elite Team Bonitas a 0:07:23 234 0
65 122 RUS19900409 A0137 Sergey CHERNETCKII Sub-23 Itera/Katusha a 0:07:30 235 0
66 41 POR19850327 22119 Bruno SARAIVA Elite Louletano/Dunas Douradas a 0:07:46 147 0
67 83 POR19920319 22893 Joaquim SILVA Sub-23 Mortágua a 0:08:35 312 0
68 4 ESP19750303 44817210 David BLANCO Elite EFAPEL/GLASSDRIVE a 0:09:27 291 0
69 25 POR19831218 17148 David LIVRAMENTO Elite CARMIM/PRIO a 0:09:57 264 0
70 37 POR19860220 21729 Márcio BARBOSA Elite LA/ANTARTE a 0:10:22 297 0
71 166 RUS19880206 A0032 Sergey SHILOV Elite Lokosphinx a 0:10:23 216 -10
72 188 ESP19890323 20043909 Pascual ORENGO Elite Burgos BH/ Castilla e Leon a 0:10:24 241 0
73 196 GER19881125 KT132332 Lucas SCHÄDLICH Elite Team NSP/ Ghost a 0:10:32 353 0
74 168 RUS19920210 A0034 Kirill SVESHNIKOV Sub-23 Lokosphinx a 0:10:43 310 -3
75 72 POR19880213 23456 Diogo SILVA Elite Maia a 0:11:16 279 0
76 46 POR19861206 18068 Rui VINHAS Elite Louletano/Dunas Douradas a 0:11:23 258 -1
77 198 FRA19881011 KT190409 Léo MENVILLE Elite Team NSP/ Ghost a 0:12:03 317 0
78 5 POR19871218 23815 Ricardo VILELA Elite EFAPEL/GLASSDRIVE a 0:12:04 349 0
79 186 ESP19871127 47376763 Pablo TORRES Elite Burgos BH/ Castilla e Leon a 0:12:13 300 0
80 23 POR19860422 18126 Henrique CASIMIRO Elite CARMIM/PRIO a 0:12:19 322 0
81 75 POR19891111 28620 Pedro MORGADO Elite Maia a 0:12:44 344 0
82 17 POR19770331 7390 Célio SOUSA Elite ONDA a 0:13:04 368 0
83 163 RUS19920304 A0053 Pavel KARPENKOV Sub-23 Lokosphinx a 0:13:12 287 0
84 86 POR19920810 26396 Carlos RIBEIRO Sub-23 Mortágua a 0:13:31 336 0
85 92 POR19910526 20946 João MATIAS Sub-23 ASC/KTM/Vitoria a 0:13:33 289 0
86 144 POL19880408 PL203 Nikolay MIHAYLOV Elite CCC Polsat/Polkowice a 0:13:54 309 0
87 78 POR19920115 29238 Rui RODRIGUES Sub-23 Maia a 0:14:01 347 0
88 84 POR19911125 21039 Renato AVELAR Sub-23 Mortágua a 0:14:35 344 0
89 174 ESP199002189 44341937 Illart ZUAZUBISKAR Sub-23 Orbea Continental a 0:14:57 348 0
90 67 POR19920422 27881 Leonel COUTINHO Sub-23 Liberty Seguros/Feira a 0:15:14 295 0
91 172 ESP19881103 78947952 Aritz ETXEBARRIA Elite Orbea Continental a 0:16:22 284 0
92 48 POR19911231 25777 Victor VALINHO Sub-23 Louletano/Dunas Douradas a 0:16:30 402 0
93 38 POR19760529 6585 Vergílio SANTOS Elite LA/ANTARTE a 0:17:30 339 0
94 45 POR19820812 15703 Micael ISIDORO Elite Louletano/Dunas Douradas a 0:17:41 358 0
95 177 ESP19910718 16067788 Haritz ORBE Sub-23 Orbea Continental a 0:18:38 396 -2
96 152 RSA19891120 68547 Tyler DAY Elite Team Bonitas a 0:18:54 325 -4
97 74 POR19930807 35163 Rafael RODRIGUES Sub-23 Maia a 0:19:14 352 0
98 42 ESP19820819 47007510 Antonio OLMO Elite Louletano/Dunas Douradas a 0:20:12 390 0
99 155 RSA19860106 67853 Luthando KAKA Elite Team Bonitas a 0:20:20 409 0
100 124 RUS19900112 A0130 Maksim RAZUMOV Sub-23 Itera/Katusha a 0:20:23 389 0
101 71 POR19900707 26841 Cristiano TEIXEIRA Sub-23 Maia a 0:20:33 375 0
102 117 ESP19920730 15443669 Antonio RAMIREZ Sub-23 Novacaixagalicia a 0:20:35 418 0
103 52 POR19890924 34190 Moreno RIBEIRO Elite Clube de Ciclismo José Maria Nicolau a 0:21:23 433 0
104 101 POR19891030 25356 Fabio SOUSA Elite OFM/Valongo a 0:22:03 380 0
105 184 ESP19830318 21679629 David BELDA Elite Burgos BH/ Castilla e Leon a 0:22:08 416 0
106 24 GBR19841022 27576 Tomás SWIFT-METCALFE Elite CARMIM/PRIO a 0:22:49 378 0
107 81 POR19910813 28688 Nuno MEIRELES Sub-23 Mortágua a 0:25:19 391 0
108 28 POR19890403 24861 Diogo NUNES Elite CARMIM/PRIO a 0:25:44 407 0
109 95 POR19910710 27890 David RODRIGUES Sub-23 ASC/KTM/Vitoria m.t. 454 0
110 87 POR19931203 30725 Luís ALMEIDA Sub-23 Mortágua a 0:26:16 412 0
111 111 ESP19791209 6260467 Francisco RODRIGUES Elite Novacaixagalicia a 0:26:29 420 0
112 35 ESP19810502 76998754 Enrique SALGUEIRO Elite LA/ANTARTE a 0:27:19 478 0
113 31 POR19880517 22804 Bruno SILVA Elite LA/ANTARTE a 0:27:27 424 -2
114 194 GER19770621 KT031430 René OBST Elite Team NSP/ Ghost a 0:28:12 460 0
115 118 ESP19930412 35488162 Angel SANCHEZ Sub-23 Novacaixagalicia a 0:28:16 452 0
116 175 ESP19900717 45822334 Omar FRAILE Sub-23 Orbea Continental a 0:28:31 447 -1
117 178 ESP19870902 44644991 Xabier ZABALO Elite Orbea Continental a 0:28:48 456 0
118 11 POR19820512 18560 João CABREIRA Elite ONDA a 0:29:53 426 0
119 103 POR19930910 22564 João PINTO Sub-23 OFM/Valongo m.t. 468 0
120 56 POR19911010 30496 Nuno ALMEIDA Sub-23 Clube de Ciclismo José Maria Nicolau a 0:31:17 418 0
121 112 ESP19930115 35582264 Ivan LOSADA Sub-23 Novacaixagalicia a 0:31:28 478 0
122 6 POR19910510 21310 Daniel FREITAS Sub-23 EFAPEL/GLASSDRIVE a 0:32:01 469 0
123 54 POR19920818 34802 Tiago DIONÍSIO Sub-23 Clube de Ciclismo José Maria Nicolau a 0:32:03 476 0
124 26 POR19750817 10039 Nelson VITORINO Elite CARMIM/PRIO a 0:32:13 428 0
125 96 POR19910217 29217 Fernando GONÇALVES Sub-23 ASC/KTM/Vitoria a 0:33:43 476 0
126 16 POR19851105 18564 Bruno LIMA Elite ONDA a 0:35:35 466 0
127 105 POR19930111 33096 Gualter CARVALHO Sub-23 OFM/Valongo a 0:36:10 462 0
128 116 ESP19910806 45329955 Jose NOCETE Sub-23 Novacaixagalicia a 0:38:04 499 0
129 55 POR19920527 29750 Pedro DUARTE Sub-23 Clube de Ciclismo José Maria Nicolau a 0:38:30 512 0
130 51 POR19910831 21890 João LETRAS Sub-23 Clube de Ciclismo José Maria Nicolau a 0:39:22 467 0
131 47 POR19910519 31224 Iúri JORGE Sub-23 Louletano/Dunas Douradas a 0:42:17 487 0

Mountain Classification

1 156 Darren LILL BNT 10
2 162 Sergey BELYKH LOK 8
3 36 José MENDES LAR 7
4 141 Marek RUTKIEWICZ CCC 5
5 134 Daan OLIVIER RB3 4
6 185 Carlos VERONA BUR 3
7 175 Omar FRAILE ORB 3
8 164 Alexey KUNSHIN LOK 1
9 147 Adrian HONKISZ CCC 1
10 161 Mikhail ANTONOV LOK 1

Points Classification

1 21 Samuel CALDEIRA CARMIM/PRIO 67
2 171 Jon ABERASTURI Orbea Continental 45
3 164 Alexey KUNSHIN Lokosphinx 41
4 143 Grzegorz STEPNIAK CCC Polsat/Polkowice 35
5 166 Sergey SHILOV Lokosphinx 33
6 1 Filipe CARDOSO EFAPEL/GLASSDRIVE 30
7 64 Marco CUNHA Liberty Seguros/Feira 30
8 12 José GONÇALVES ONDA 28
9 88 Antonio CARVALHO Mortágua 26
10 43 Jorge MONTENEGRO Louletano/Dunas Douradas 25
11 192 Steffen RADOCHLA Team NSP/ Ghost 16
12 152 Tyler DAY Team Bonitas 16
13 182 Manuel ANTON Burgos BH/ Castilla e Leon 10
14 41 Bruno SARAIVA Louletano/Dunas Douradas 10
15 156 Darren LILL Team Bonitas 9
16 135 Marc GOOS Rabobank Continental Team 9
17 126 Igor FROLOV Itera/Katusha 8
18 14 Delio FERNANDEZ ONDA 7
19 33 Hugo SABIDO LA/ANTARTE 6
20 134 Daan OLIVIER Rabobank Continental Team 6
21 133 Marco MINNAARD Rabobank Continental Team 5
22 145 Bartlomiej MATYSIAK CCC Polsat/Polkowice 4
23 61 André MOURATO Liberty Seguros/Feira 3
24 168 Kirill SVESHNIKOV Lokosphinx 3
25 123 Sergey POMOSHNIKOV Itera/Katusha 2
26 63 Rafael SILVA Liberty Seguros/Feira 2
27 18 Hélder OLIVEIRA ONDA 2
28 141 Marek RUTKIEWICZ CCC Polsat/Polkowice 2
29 181 Damien BRANAA Burgos BH/ Castilla e Leon 2
30 177 Haritz ORBE Orbea Continental 2
31 31 Bruno SILVA LA/ANTARTE 2
32 3 Sérgio RIBEIRO EFAPEL/GLASSDRIVE 1
33 173 Aritz BAGÜES Orbea Continental 1
34 187 Luis MAS Burgos BH/ Castilla e Leon 1
35 46 Rui VINHAS Louletano/Dunas Douradas 1
36 175 Omar FRAILE Orbea Continental 1

Teams Classification

1 RB3 Rabobank Continental Team 48:50:21 —
2 LIB Liberty Seguros/Feira 48:50:30 a 0:00:09
3 LOK Lokosphinx 48:50:36 a 0:00:15
4 CCC CCC Polsat/Polkowice 48:50:37 a 0:00:16
5 BUR Burgos BH/ Castilla e Leon 48:50:47 a 0:00:26
6 EFG EFAPEL/GLASSDRIVE 48:51:20 a 0:00:59
7 PRT CARMIM/PRIO 48:51:29 a 0:01:08
8 BOA ONDA 48:52:20 a 0:01:59
9 ORB Orbea Continental 48:52:57 a 0:02:36
10 TIK Itera/Katusha 48:54:05 a 0:03:44
11 BNT Team Bonitas 48:54:17 a 0:03:56
12 LOU Louletano/Dunas Douradas 48:54:52 a 0:04:31
13 MOR Mortágua 48:57:09 a 0:06:48
14 NSP Team NSP/ Ghost 48:58:45 a 0:08:24
15 LAR LA/ANTARTE 49:03:32 a 0:13:11
16 MAI Maia 49:06:45 a 0:16:24
17 OFM OFM/Valongo 49:47:09 a 0:56:48
18 ASC ASC/KTM/Vitoria 49:55:40 a 1:05:19
19 SPO Novacaixagalicia 49:57:10 a 1:06:49
20 JMN Clube de Ciclismo José Maria Nicolau 50:08:38 a 1:18:17