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De La Parte powered around the 6.8km course for the Volta ao Portugal prologue with an average speed of more than 45kph to hold off defending champion Veloso and Luis-Leon Sanchez and become the first leader of the 10-day race

Photo: Sirotti

EFAPEL-GLASSDRIVE

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GUSTAVO CESAR VELOSO

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LUIS LEÓN SÁNCHEZ

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VOLTA A PORTUGAL

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30.07.2014 @ 19:10 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Victor De La Parte (Efapel) made use of his great TT skills to become the first overall leader of the Volta a Portugal by winning the 6.8km prologue in Fafe. He beat defending champion Gustavo Veloso (OFM) by 3 seconds while Luis-Leon Sanchez (Caja Rural) finished 3rd 6 seconds further adrift.

 

Victor De La Parte has lots of great results in smaller stage races and is a past winner of the Sibiu Cycling Tour and the Tour of Algeria. Until today, however, he hadn’t won a major race but it all changed when he made use of his excellent time trialling skills to win the prologue of the Volta ao Portugal.

 

In the biggest race of his season, De La Parte was an early starter and he powered around the 6.8km course in a time of 8.56 to open big time gaps to the riders that had already done their rides. The Spaniard then faced a long nervous wait in the not seat but when the final wave of riders started no rider had managed to get within 10 seconds of his time.

 

Luis Leon Sanchez got close when he crossed the line in a time of 9.06 but De La Parte got his biggest scare when the final rider, defending champion Gustavo Veloso, hit the course. The Spaniard got his title defence off to a great start but when he crossed the line, he had to settle for second behind his compatriot.

 

The 10-day national Tour kicked off with a 6.8km prologue in the city of Fafe and after a flat, slightly descending first part, it ended with a pretty tough climb of more than 2km. The first rider down the ramp was Kota Sumiyoshi but none of the early starters managed to set a notable time.

 

Frederik Dombrowski (Stölting) set an early best time but was quickly beaten by Carlos Oyarzun (Efapel) who set the scene for his teammate De La Parte. The Spaniard was the next Efapel rider to hit the course and he lowered the mark by an impressive 32 seconds.

 

Ricardo Vilela (OFM) did a solid ride but it was Sergey Shilov (Rusvelo) who got closest to De La Parte among the early starters, setting a time that was ultimately good enough for fourth. Tim Gebauer (Stölting) also produced a solid ride and ended the stage in 19th.

 

Sergio Sousa (Efapel) got his race off to a great start by posting a time that was ultimately good enough for seventh and Daniel Silva (Radio Poular) was only 11 seconds slower. Max Werda (Stölting) was the next rider to crack the top 10 while Juan Jose Oroz (Burgos) was slightly faster.

 

Ruben Fernandez (Caja Rural) proved his great talent by posting a time that would allow him to finish 10th while past winner Hugo Sabido (LA Aluminios) did well to finish 14th. TT specialist Delio Fernandez (OFM) set a time that would give him ninth but all eyes were now on Stefan Schumacher (Christina Watches).

 

The German had to settle for fourth while Jose Toribio (Ukyo) did well to take 8th. Sanchez was now on the course but the Caja Rural rider could only slot into second.

 

CC riders Ricardo Mestre, Hernani Broco and Rui Sousa all fought hard to limit their losses while all focus was on Veloso who was the final rider who could realistically challenge De La Parte. Even though he missed 3 seconds in the end, the defending champion proved that he is ready to defend his title.

 

De La Parte will take his 3-second lead into tomorrow’s first stage of the race. An early category 4 climb will determine the first holder of the mountains jersey but all is set for a sprint finish in Maia late in the afternoon.

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