Amaro Antunes will lead CCC Team in his home race Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta, which will be held from February 20-24.
The Portuguese race favors good climbers with solid time trial skills and Antunes should be among those competing for a top ten overall, Sports Director Gabriele Missaglia said.
“Amaro Antunes will be the leader and will have the entire team working for him, especially on the mountain stages. He will be racing in front of his home fans and that will be a big motivational factor. Amaro has proven in the past that this race suits him and we want to surround him with riders who can help him succeed,” Missagla explained.
“This year’s course is quite similar to 2018, but the stretch before the final climb on stage two is harder and the race may be more selective. As far as the General Classification goes, the time trial should be the key point, but we will try to make up as much time in both uphill finishes on stages two and five. We will line up with the ambition to win a stage and take a top ten spot in the overall standings. All the riders already have some racing kilometers in the legs after opening their season in Spain, so we hope we can turn that form into nice results this week.”
Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta was a breakthrough race for Antunes in 2017 when he won the uphill finish and secured fifth overall. He is looking forward to returning and showcasing his skills in front of a home crowd.
“It was an unforgettable day and everything went perfectly. I remember that my name was written on the road, all over the climb and people were cheering for me. I felt like a cycling star,” Antunes recalls of his stage victory in Malhão, where this year’s edition will also end.
“I’m very happy to return to my home race, wearing the CCC Team jersey. It will be really exciting to show my team colors to all the people living in my region. I think I’m in good shape after the hard work I did in the off-season. I had a chance to test my form at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and it was a good week of competition. The team rode very well together and I’m happy with that performance.
“There are two uphill finishes in 2019 Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta, and although they are completely different, both are very hard. I believe that the climb in the last stage should see bigger gaps, since it’s steeper in the final two kilometers.”
Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta (20-24 February)
Riders roster: Amaro Antunes (POR), Will Barta (USA), Paweł Bernas (POL), Josef Černý (CZE), Jonas Koch (GER), Laurens ten Dam (NED), Riccardo Zoidl (AUT)
Sports Directors: Gabriele Missaglia (ITA), Marco Pinotti (ITA)