He put on the yellow jersey in Setúbal, in the first stage, he never lost it during the next nine days, until he crossed the goal this Tuesday, for the last time, in Viseu, becoming the winner of the 79th edition of Portugal Tour. It was the biggest victory in Raul Alarcón's career, adding to this dream season, after the victories in the Tour of Asturias and the JN Grand Prix: “I still have a lot to give”, said the 13th Spanish cycler to beat the most important competition of the calendar.
Behind Alarcón was Portuguese cycler Amaro Antunes, the king of the mountain - a status he had already confirmed in the ninth stage, which he won - another of the great figures of this tour and someone who played a key role in the victory for the cycler from Alicante, as did Gustavo Veloso, the winner of the time trial in Viseu. They both believe the first place for Alarcón was fair.
It was a victory across the board for W52-FC Porto-Mestre da Cor, reaching the second consecutive victory in the tour - Rui Vinhas won the 2016 edition -, placing two more cyclers in the top ten and finishing as undisputed leader in teams. “The secret of this team is the union”, stated sports director Nuno Ribeiro.
Raúl Alarcón (winner)
“I still have a lot to give, as I am doing right now. Gustavo? He is a great companion and a great friend. In our team, we never compete against each other, only against our opponents. We always tried to do our best and, in the end, we managed to win for the team, and that’s what matters. Now we’re celebrating together, as always. It was another victory and we want to enjoy the moment.”
Amaro Antunes (blue jersey)
“I am very pleased. The main objective of the team was the final victory, Raúl was a fair winner and now it's time to celebrate. I’m a young cycler and will continue to work hard so that one day I can make the leap.”
Gustavo Veloso (winner of the tenth stage)
“We can lose the Tour any day, we have to win it every day. And today I wanted to show that yesterday's stage was a bad moment. Yesterday, I lost the fight for the Tour and I think I had a good performance today. I have to congratulate Raul Alarcón, I am very happy for him, as he is almost like a sporting son to me - I have a few, they even call me Daddy Veloso. Seeing one of these kids win is the same as me winning.”
Nuno Ribeiro (sports director)
“The secret of this team is union. Together we make a difference and that is the most important thing if we are to achieve these great goals. We took the race head on from the start to get the victory, we worked for it and won with merit. Everyone should be praised for the excellent work and display of strength given on the road. It is important to have leaders on the team and experienced cyclers who have already raced and won the Tour, but the whole group is the key to achieving these victories.”
Adriano Quintanilha (President of W52-FC Porto-Mestre da Cor)
“It was a good Tour, very difficult, unlike what it may seem. We did all the work so we could be happy. This great victory of these great heroes is dedicated to Chairman Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa.”