Stars on Tour

Recently knighted Tour de France winner and Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins (pictured) will begin his 2013 campaign in the Algarve next month.

Much to the joy of Tour organiser Rogério Teixeira, the charismatic 32-year-old will be backed up by principal Sky team mate Chris Froome, a fact which will greatly help pull in the sponsors necessary to finance the popular seasonal pipe-opener. However, despite this boost, news has broken that this year’s ‘Volta ao Algarve’ scheduled to take place between February 13 and 17 will have to make do with one less stage than is customary.

At the time the Algarve Resident went to press, the Algarve Cycling Association had not yet specified which of the five days of racing covering Castro Marim to Portimão will be lost.

Since 1960 the ‘Algarvia’, as it is commonly known, has enjoyed a long and illustrious history also marked by tragedy. In 1984 Portugal’s most iconic cyclist, Joaquim Agostinho, was leading the race when a stray dog caused him to crash 300m from the finishing line. He still managed to remount but died as a result of a fractured skull ten days later.

More recently, the event has increasingly attracted the sport’s biggest names. In 2004 the now disgraced undisputed king of the road Lance Armstrong took fifth place behind US Postal teammate Floyd Landis and three years later Italian Alessandro Petacchi carried the yellow jersey to victory followed by back-to-back successes for Spain’s Alberto Contador.

Last February Wiggins made his Algarve debut taking the concluding Lagoa-Portimao time trial to secure third place overall to fellow Sky rider, Australian Richie Porte.

The experience obviously stood the current BBC Sports Personality of the Year in good stead and cycling fans can look forward to another great race in six weeks’ time.