Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa revealed that one of the cyclers of W52-FC Porto-Porto Canal was “overwhelmed” by the weight of the history of the club, at the presentation of the team, held this Saturday, with a tour to the Museum. The Dragons hold records in individual victories (12) in the Volta a Portugal (Portugal Tour), and now they joined forces with a team that won the individual overall in the last three editions of the Portugal Tour (two of them, 2014 and 2015, by Gustavo Veloso, current line leader). The responsibility of the team, composed by 12 cyclists and led by director Nuno Ribeiro, will be “big”, but, for now, the white and blue chairman is proud to see the FC Porto gear racing through the streets of the country, with the athletes acting as true “ambassadors”.
“It was a dream of mine, but a dream that I did all I could to make real, as so many people had the same. You have no idea! So many people asked me when we would have cycling again in the club, and I kept telling them that would only happen with the right partner”, Pinto da Costa stated, at the Auditorium Fernando Sardoeira Pinto, at the presentation of the team to the press, which followed a tour to the FC Porto Museum. The leader of the Dragons praised the part played by Adriano Quintanilha, the man behind W52, in the agreement: “From the first time we talked, he was special in the way he related to us and in the interest he showed in having us all here today. He is the ideal partner, and I must say that it was an honour to have this agreement with you and your fantastic team, which will surely last beyond the contract we signed”.
At the ceremony, the cyclers wore the new jerseys – white and blue, of course – and Elias Barros was also introduced, the director appointed by FC Porto for the sport, stating himself to be the “right arm” of Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa for cycling. Apart from Spanish cycler Gustavo Veloso, the team also counts on his countrymen Juan Perez Inacio, Ángel Rebollido and Raúl Alarcón, and Portuguese Samuel Caldeira, Rui Vinhas, António Carvalho, Joaquim Silva, Rafael Reis, João Rodrigues, Daniel Freitas and Ricardo Mestre. “May today be the first of many celebrations in the history of FC Porto”, Pinto da Costa wished, reminding the legendary cyclers that ran for the club, such as Fernando Moreira de Sá – the team took pictures standing next to his old bicycle –, Dias dos Santos, Mário Silva, Joaquim Leão or Manuel Zeferino.
31 years later, FC Porto is going back to cycling, with the clear objective of getting victories, especially the Portugal Tour. “We aim at winning on everything. We don’t always do it, but I’m sure we will have many victories in the competitions we are going to fight for. I felt the athletes, even the ones that were already on the team, renewed their hopes and ambitions. It was good that they visited the Museum, so they know what FC Porto is all about”, the chairman stated, revealing that there is a desire to participate in international competitions, but all in “due time”. Nuno Ribeiro, a fan of the club, assures the cyclers will bring “honour” to the jersey on the road: “The base from last year is unchanged, only now it was made stronger as we are associated to a great club, and that’s the main focus”. For Gustavo Veloso, it’s a “great responsibility”, but the Spanish athlete has the experience of “leading a united team for the past two years”. “We have the strength to reach our goals and to take the name of FC Porto to the highest levels. That’s why we are here”, the cycler added.
Delmino Pereira, president of the Federação Portuguesa de Ciclismo, was also at the presentation, and witnessed as Pinto da Costa praised his leadership. The first competition in the schedule was addressed, the Algarve Tour, held from February 17 to 21. “We know how strong FC Porto is, we know what we will find on the road, and we know the warmth the cyclers will feel from associates and fans. For the sake of the sport, everything will be better”, Adriano Quintanilha stated.