Saddle up

The 75th Tour of Portugal, the country’s biggest cycling event, came under starters orders in Bombarral yesterday (Thursday) following the previous day’s largely ceremonial Lisbon prologue.

The 153 competitors representing six national and 11 international teams will cover 1,607 kilometres during the ten stages all located north of Lisbon, before crossing the finishing line in Viseu on August 18.

In the absence of defending champion and record five-time winner David Blanco, LA Aluminios’ Hugo Sabido and Efapel’s Hernani Broco are the principal favourites for this year’s edition. However, there are several unexposed riders in the peloton capable of causing a surprise, not least of which are the two Algarve team leaders David Livramento (Tavira Banco BIC-Carmin) and Sergio Ribeiro (Louletano-Dunas Douradas).