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Aldeias do Xisto Classic: The emotion of a grandmother, the enthusiasm of fans and the pride of locals

Aldeias do Xisto Classic: The emotion of a grandmother, the enthusiasm of fans and the pride of locals
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Family, friends and locals came together to cheer on the cyclists and celebrate the third time the race was held.

It was already known that Joni Brandão, from EFAPEL, came in first in the Aldeias do Xisto Classic, followed by Luís Mendonça, from Rádio Popular-Boavista, who, with his second place, guaranteed the Santa Casa Jogos Portugal Cup, but the moment that really mattered to Emília Venda had not yet taken place. Cycling has long been a part of her life. She is the mother of the well-known cyclist Cândido Barbosa, whose races she follows whenever she can. This time, she came from Paredes to encourage and applaud her grandson, Diogo Barbosa, who was taking part in the race. “He is a very shy and modest kid who wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps. God willing he will be luckier”, she shares.
 

 

Visibly nervous and showing a lot of emotion, she was waiting near the finishing line, for the arrival of her grandson. Her husband/grandfather went back a few kilometres to provide “strength and cool water, as he did for his son”. He tells us that his grandson is in Spain, on the Caja Rural team, and that it is the first time he has been involved in a race of this kind. The conversation moves on to other times and other names in national cycling, but the long-awaited moment happens when Diogo crosses the finishing line and it is now time to celebrate.

Sónia Rego and Ricardo Guimarães also came from the North of the country. Spending a few days in Miranda do Corvo, they found out about the race in a local newspaper and decided to watch the end. “My husband is a cycling fan and we came to watch”, explains Sónia, adding that they took advantage of the trip to get to know the Aldeia do Xisto of Gondramaz. “It is very nice here. I loved the village”, she assures us.
 

 

The Aldeias do Xisto Classic took place for the third time on 1st May and the competitors raced the 154 km route between the Aldeias do Xisto of Pedrógão Pequeno, in Sertã, and Gondramaz, in Miranda do Corvo. Find out the results and reactions of the competitors here.

In Gondramaz, the cyclists had a happy enthusiastic crowd waiting for them. With the arrival of Joni Brandão, the first to cross the line, there was loud applause from a suitably dressed group. “We are from the EFAPEL Cycling School and we came to support our team, which is racing on its home ground. We are the cheerleaders”, explains Aldina Fernandes, revealing her good mood. “Spectacular!” is the word she chooses to react to the fact that EFAPEL won two podium places and the best team award. “It’s very good, especially because we are racing on our home ground”, she adds. EFAPEL is a company based in Serpins, in the neighbouring county of Lousã.
 


Raised in Gondramaz, Carlos Alves Garcia made a point of accompanying the cyclists to the finishing line. Bearing in mind that this is a very popular cycling village - one of the Aldeias do Xisto Mountain Bike Centres is located there - “it makes perfect sense” that this type of event takes place. “It’s something that brings a lot of life to the village”, adds his wife, Maria de Lurdes Garcia. Both recall that Gondramaz is also much sought after by hikers and that the Vulture Trails pass through there. This Aldeia do Xisto is, in fact, one of the settings for the Trail Running World Championship, which takes place in June, in Miranda do Corvo.
 


The Aldeias do Xisto Classic is one of the events on the calendar of Cyclin' Portugal, a project that recognises the Aldeias do Xisto as an excellent area for the practice of cycling in all its forms.  The European Downhill Championship which will be held from 2 to 5 May in Pampilhosa da Serra, is also part of the programme.
 


It was precisely this excellence that the executive director of ADXTUR - Schist Villages Tourism Development Agency highlighted, at the same time expressing a strong desire for this race to form part of the Portugal Classics. Rui Simão congratulated all the participants and the enthusiasm with which Miranda do Corvo City Hall had welcomed the initiative. “It is an honour to be in the midst of such energy”, he said.

The Mayor of Miranda do Corvo drew attention to the surrounding magic of the Serra da Lousã and assured us that the County was available to host other initiatives.

Text: Andreia Gonçalves

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