Joni Brandão wins Aldeias do Xisto Classic

02 may 2019
Joni Brandão wins Aldeias do Xisto Classic
Racing at home, and supported by Aldeias do Xisto, EFAPEL did everything to win a Classic where the final sprint to the finish line was uphill.

"It's a new challenge to cycling, tough, with few rest points. We really need these kinds of last stretches, because we often run difficult races where the finish is not very demanding. I congratulate the organisation for having chosen this course" said Joni Brandão, the EFAPEL cyclist who, on 1 May, won the third edition of the Aldeias do Xisto Classic.

Video of the Classic here.

The racer explained that he was familiar with the course due to reconnaissance done the day before, but he confesses that he did not have any particular strategy in mind. "I decided to go for it because I felt good, like I was able to win. A triumph I dedicate to the team, who worked hard from the starting kilometre", he emphasised. "I simply completed the team's work. If it was football, it would just be that final touch to score the goal", surmises Joni Brandão.

Luís Mendonça, from Rádio Popular-Boavista, was the second to cross the finish line and won the Jogos Santa Casa Portugal Cup, with 125 points. He was followed by Joni Brandão, with 77, and Jonathan Lastra, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, with 75.

"The team deserved this victory in the Jogos Santa Casa Portuguese Cup, we are very proud of the results. I have been doing weight loss training to move up with the best. It seems that I am reaping the rewards and should get to the Tour of Portugal with another set of goals", revealed the athlete.

Henrique Casimiro took third place on the podium, also from EFAPEL. Besides the two places in the podium, EFAPEL, sponsored by Aldeias do Xisto and competing at home, also won the best team award.

Find the complete list of award winners here .

The event

The race, from the Aldeias do Xisto of Pedrógão Pequeno in Sertã, and Gondramaz, in Miranda do Corvo, was fiercely disputed from the very beginning. Over the 154km course, successive groups of escaped from the pack, some more numerous than others, but never achieving a lead of more than two minutes.

On the approach to Gondramaz, Óscar Hernández, from Aviludo-Louletano, one of the men who shone throughout the day, decided to start as the lone rider, but he couldn't out-ride his pursuers, where EFAPEL took most of the losses.

The decisive moment was left for the last 5.5 kilometres, uphill, with an average incline of 8.5% and slopes close to 20%. Óscar Hernández approached the first slope at the head of the race, but the men who came forward with the intention of winning the race and the Cup wouldn’t allow him to keep his lead.

Joni Brandão charged, with less than 4 kilometres to go, and made a solitary push to the finish line, with time to celebrate the triumph, acknowledging the applause of the enthusiastic audience waiting in Gondramaz.

Fábio Costa, from UD Oliveirense/InOutBuild, won the under-23 Jogos Santa Casa Portugal Cup followed by Gonçalo Leaça, from LA Alumínios-LA Sport, and Jorge Magalhães, from W52-FC Porto. Collectively, W52-FC Porto won the elite Cup and Sicasal/Constantinos in the under-23.

Also to be highlighted are Luís Fernandes, from Aviludo-Louletano, who came first in the general mountain classification, and Jorge Magalhães, best under-23.

The Aldeias do Xisto Classic is one of the races on the calendar of Cyclin' Portugal, a project that recognises the Aldeias do Xisto as a territory of excellence for the practice of various types of cycling. The European Downhill Championship, which will be held from 2 to 5 May in Pampilhosa da Serra, is also part of the programme.