The countdown to the European Championship that will take place in the municipality of Anadia between June 30th and July 19th has started. For the first time, a single municipality will host three weeks of competition for the European titles in mountain bike, road and track, in the under-23 and under-19 categories.
The municipality of Anadia, headquarters of the Cycling High Performance Centre, will be the capital of European cycling, with thousands of visitors expected, including athletes, team staff and fans, both national and international. The celebration of cycling in all its glory will take place in different parts of the municipality, through the competitions of three Olympic cycling disciplines.
It will all start on June 30th, the first of the four days of races dedicated to mountain biking, on the permanent XCO track of Tamengos. Eleven European titles will be in dispute in this event, spread over four disciplines: cross country olympics (XCO), cross country eliminator (XCE), cross country short track (XCC) and team relay (XCR).
“It’s a course with almost 4 kilometers, very constant and with little elevation gain. Not having very long climbs, there is a balance between the technical component and the physical component. “There are two or three very important areas that deserve a lot of attention, two steeper climbs and, in terms of obstacles, I would say the last ‘rock garden’, which is longer. These three points can decide the race”, says the national MTB coach, Pedro Vigário, about the XCO race course.
In the week after the MTB competitions, the European Road Championships will start. On July 7th and 8th, Sangalhos will be the stage for the European time trial titles. On July 9th and 10th, the caravan will move to Complexo Desportivo de Anadia, where the road races will start and finish.
The road programme opens with the individual time trials on July 7th. The following day, for the first time, European mixed realy team time trial titles will be awarded (men and women in teams) both in the under-23 and under-19 categories. The road races will close the programme, with under-19s on Saturday and under-23s on Sunday.
“The time trial has a considerable distance, especially for the juniors. The course has a difficult start with some climbs, followed by some areas of false flat, prone to having head or side wind. The time trial has another very technical part, in which the riders go through the middle of the houses, with a small top at the end. It’s a very beautiful and well designed course”, says the road national coach, José Poeira, who, regarding the cross-country races, makes the following assessment: “The course doesn’t have very complicated climbs, but there are some points to pay attention. Inside Anadia there is a climb four kilometres from the finish line that, lap after lap, will bring some difficulty. At the end, the finish line is uphill, with a slope of 5%, more or less. I think that, all the course, along with the several laps, will bring some difficulty to the riders, especially the several times they will have to pass through the longest climb that we’ll have, which is on Monte Castro”.
The European Track Championship, the branch of cycling in which Portugal has won more medals since the opening of the National Velodrome, in Sangalhos, Anadia, closes the programme, from July 14th to 19th.
Track cycling is a visual spectacle, but also a sensorial one, where the vibration of the track, the sound of the bikes against the wood and the effort of the cyclists, closely felt, are part of the emotion. So, nothing better than watching the competitions live. But for those who cannot do so, the Portuguese Cycling Federation will broadcast the European track events live on its Facebook and YouTube pages.