The forthcoming Volta a Portugal (Sep 27 – Oct 5) will see an exciting partnership between Rally Cycling and Lusíadas Saúde. Lusíadas is a major healthcare provider in Portugal and a member of UnitedHealth Group. Their brand will be featured on the team’s jersey throughout the competition. Lusíadas will also be providing the COVID-19 protocols for the entire race and lending Rally Cycling one of their doctors to serve in the team’s medical staff.
Nuno España, Head of Marketing and Customer Management at Lusíadas, said.
“For Lusíadas it’s a privilege to welcome Rally Cycling to our country and to a competition where we provide the official medical service. As a company of UnitedHealth Group, it’s an honor to be able to support our family with what we do best – to care. And as an official partner of the competition, it’s exciting to have such a big team in the peloton, even more with the riders wearing our branding on the shirt.”
As an extension of Rally Cycling’s Reason to Ride campaign which was launched earlier this year with Colmédica during the Tour Colombia 2.1, Rally Cycling created a competition for Lusíadas employees who shared their reason to ride for a chance to win a team jersey.
España also explained a little more about why sport is such a key focus for Lusíadas.
“Our company believes that sport is a great promoter of healthier lives. That’s the main message we want to pass in supporting the race for the second year in a row – we want to help people live healthier lives.”
Chief Operating Officer for Rally Cycling, Jacob Erker, drove home the significance of the partnership.
“UnitedHealth Group has hundreds of thousands of employees worldwide and Rally Cycling is a global racing team. We’re thrilled to further bring together employees from around the world and share Rally Health’s mission of health and wellness at the upcoming Volta a Portugal em Bicicleta Edição Especial.”
Race preview and roster
The Volta a Portugal promises to be a hard-to-control race with plenty of climbing and some chaotic, flatter sprint stages. The two mountain top finishes will be where the GC is won or lost, but with two time-trials and plenty of undulating stages, riders won’t be able to sit on their laurels, and will need to be on form for the full eight stages if they want to make a statement.
The squad for the nine-day event is packed with firepower, including new stagiaire Keegan Swirbul and GC specialist Gavin Mannion. All seven men are making their Volta a Portugal debut.
Prologue (Sep 27) – Fafe > Fafe (7km) – A flat and short time trial to kick off the Volta, with a small ramp up to the finish, one for the pure time trialists.
Stage 1 (Sep 28) – Montalegre > Santa Luzia (Viana do Castelo) (180km) – The longest stage of the race begins with an interesting, downhill profile for the first half, with plenty of points opportunities and a category 3 climb to finish.
Stage 2 (Sep 29) – Paredes > Senhora da Graça (Mondim de Basto) (167km) – First true climbing stage of the race. A hard day in the saddle with plenty of vertical meters gained and a mountain top finish.
Stage 3 (Sep 30) – Felgueiras > Viseu (171.9km) – An undulating course with a predicted sprint finish, if the fast guys can manage to get over the big lump category 2 climb with the peloton.
Stage 4 (Oct 1) – Guarda > Torre (Covilhã) (148km) – Proving that damage can be done in the shortest road stage of the race, stage 4 is pure heaven for climbers and pure hell for the sprinters. Look out for another spectacular mountain top finish, and did someone say switchbacks?
Stage 5 (Oct 2) – Oliveira do Hospital > Águeda (176.3km) – The sprinters get their reward on what looks like a GC ‘rest day’. Just two small climbs and an expected bunch finish.
Stage 6 (Oct 3) – Caldas da Rainha > Torres Vedras (155km) – Plenty of points up for grabs on Stage 6 as the riders cover 155 flat kilometers.
Stage 7 (Oct 4) – Loures > Setúbal (161km) – An undulating profile features on the penultimate stage, could this be a day for a successful breakaway?
Stage 8 (Oct 5) – Lisboa > Lisboa (17.7km) – The final stage and time trial takes in the beautiful seafront views of Lisbon (Lisboa). Flat with a small ramp in the middle.
For all of the latest #VoltaPortugal updates, you can follow the team and hashtag on Twitter.