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Beating Goncalves by 26 seconds, Veloso won the Volta a Portugal time trial and extended his overall lead on the eve of the final sprint stage

GUSTAVO CESAR VELOSO

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VOLTA A CATALUNYA

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08.08.2015 @ 19:46 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Gustavo Cesar Veloso (W52) confirmed his position as the strongest rider in the Volta a Portugal when he won the time trial on the penultimate day of the race. The Spaniard beat Jose Goncalves (Caja Rural) by 26 seconds and so extended his overall lead over Joni Brandao to 2.21 on the eve of the final sprint stage.

 

12 months ago Gustavo Cesar Veloso confirmed that his overall victory in the Volta a Portugal was fully deserved when he took a dominant victory in the time trial on the penultimate day. This year he has maube been even stronger in the Portuguese race and went into the race against the clock with a 14-second lead over his teammate Delio Fernandez while the first rider from a rival team was Joni Brandao (Efapel) who was almost one minute behind.

 

Everybody knew that the rivals had to gain time on Veloso in the mountains as he was likely to be the best in the TT and he fully lived up to his status as the favourite when he repeated last year’s triumph. Being the final rider down the ramp, he caught his two-minute man Brandao and stopped the clock in 40.41 to beat Jose Goncalves by 26 seconds.

 

Goncalves had led the race for a long time after he had beaten previous leader Rafael Reis and was hopeful that he would be able to take a second stage win in the race after he had been relegated a few days ago. Back then, the win was given to Veloso and today it was again the race leader who denied him the victory as he was the only GC rider who was better than the Caja Rural youngster. Reis held onto third.

 

With his dominant performance, Veloso extended his overall lead significantly but it was not necessarily a great day for W52 team which was denied a 1-2 overall. His teammate Fernandez could only manage 33rd and as Brandao benefited from being caught by Veloso, he finished the stage in 11th and moved into second in the overall standings.

 

In fact, Fernandez slipped out of the podium as former TT winner in this race Alejandro Marque made it two Efapel riders in the top 3 of the GC. The Spaniard finished a disappointing 7th but that was enough to leapfrog his compatriot in the overall standings. The other big winner in the GC battle was Rui Sousa who finished 5th and moved into the same position overall.

 

Veloso now just needs to get safely through the final stage before he can be crowned winner of the race. It’s an almost completely flat affair that ends with a few laps of a circuit in Lisbon where the sprinters are expected to shine.

 

A flat time trial

After yesterday’s sprint stage, there was still one big GC day in the Volta a Portugal as the riders tackled a 34.2km time trial on the penultimate day. The course brought them from Praia de Pedrogao to Leiria and with virtually no elevation gain, it was one for the powerful specialists.

 

It was a hot day in Portugal when Dennis Bakker (Parkhotel) rolled down the ramp as the first rider. He stopped the clock in 45.48 to take the early lead in the race.

 

Westmattelmann takes the lead

However, he didn’t even get the chance to move into the hot seat as Daniel Westmattelmann (Kuota) was flying around the course to stop the clock in 42.02 to take a clear lead. He even dragged Coen Vermeltfoort (De Rijke) along and this allowed the Dutchamn to slot into second.

 

Diego Nunes (Tavira) moved into third with a time of 44.02 but was pushed down to fourth by Maurizio Damiano (Idea) who was just 1 second faster. However, most had their eyes on Albert Torres (Ecuador) who had been fastest at the intermediate checks and took the lead by going 11 seconds faster than Westmattmann.

 

Best time for Reis

Oscar Brea (Efapel) moved into third with a time of 32.09 but was quickly beaten by Wouter Mol (De Rijke) who was 34 seconds faster. The next rider to crack the top 5 was Kai Reus (Verandas Willems) who slotted into fourth with 43.03.

 

Dimitri Claeys (Verandas Willems) has been riding really well in this race so it was no surprise that the Belgian got close to the lead when he slotted into third with 42.08. Moments later, local hero Rafael Reis (Tavira) powered across the line in 41.16 to lower the mark by 35 seconds.

 

Goncalves takes the lead

For a long time, no one was even close to Reis’ time and the highlights were Daniel Mestre (Tavira) and Christoph Premont (Verandas Willems) who made it into the top 10, the latter even slotting into fifth. He was beaten by Domingos Goncalves (Efapel) whose time of 42.32 was good enough for fourth.

 

However, everybody was waiting for his brother Jose who had been very fast at the time checks and when he stopped the clock in 41.07 he had gone 11 seconds faster than Reis. Moments later Evgeny Shalunov (Lokosphinx) set the third best time of 41.38.

 

Great ride by Mestre

Ronan Van Zandbeek (De Rijke) made it into the top 10 before prologue winner Gaetan Bille (Verandas Willems) slotted into fourth with 41.44. Former winner Ricardo Mestre (Tavira) made up for a disappointing race by moving into third with 41.31.

 

Ricardo Vilela (Caja Rural) and Raul Alarcon (W52) both made it into the top 10 before the GC battle started to heat up. Hernani Broco (LA Aluminios) was the first rider from the top 10 and he had a good ride to slot into 10th.

 

Veloso takes the win

Sergio Sousa (LA Aluminios) was slightly better and pushed his teammate one spot down before Rui Sousa (Radio Popular) powered across the line in the fourth best time of 41.37. Antonio Carvalho (W52) confirmed his great race by slotting into 10th.

 

Many had their eyes on former TT winner in this race Alejandro Marque (Efapel) but the Spaniard could only manage 6th. Fernandez had a disappointing ride to slot into 31st but his teammate Veloso made up for it by taking the win after having caught two-minute man Joni Brandao (Efapel) who was 11th. 

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