Northern tour

Palmeiras Resort-Prio-Tavira’s David Blanco saw his hat-trick bid of Tour of Portugal victories fail by a narrow margin in Viseu on Sunday.

The Algarve team’s 2008 hero was closing fast on the leaders during the latter stages of the 71st edition of Portugal’s premier cycling race, but ultimately left himself with too much to do, unable to make up the 1.24m which seperated him from winner Nuno Ribeiro (Liberty Seguros) at the line.

The 31-year-old Portuguese rider had shot to the front after the fourth of the ten stages, taking the peloton through the north of the country and never relinquished his advantage thereafter.

The tour was still a huge success for Tavira, with Blanco, Nelson Vitorino and André Cardoso’s second, eighth and ninth individual placings securing the overall team title.

In addition fellow Tavira star and veteran Cândido Barbosa took home the jersey awarded to the top points winner.

It is hoped that 2010 will see a welcome return of the Tour to the south of the country for its 72nd edition.