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Algarve 2018 bike race to be broadcast to 'at least 50 countries'

bikeraceThe Algarve’s annual 'Volta ao Algarve' bicycle race “helps promote the region as a bicycle destination,” according to the head of the regional tourist board, Desidério Silva.

The 44th annual race, which runs from February 14th to 18th next year, is already a competition of "great international prestige" said Silva who sees the race as the focal point for the bicycle tourism market, saying that it “contributes to the image and appreciation of the territory.”

The 2018 race will be televised by Eurosport and TVI24 and broadcast in, "more than 50 countries," which will be one big advert for the Algarve.

At the launch of the 2018 event in Faro, Desidério Silva spoke of cyclists coming to appreciate the Algarve’s routes and landscapes.

The Algarve’s landscape is a wonder to behold but many of the bicycle routes are shamefully substandard despite years of politicians' pledges to create a coherent, safe and well signposted network.

This gap in service aside, the 2018 race is gruelling and well covered over its five stages, totalling 773.5 kilometres, with different routes selected to test riders' endurance and speed.

Twenty teams already are confirmed with another five to go before the race card is full.

Delmino Pereira, president of the Portuguese Cycling Federation, was at the 2018 launch and said that "we are improving the quality of the Volta ao Algarve," adding that the race, "fits in with the interests of the Algarve as it takes place in the low season.”

Jorge Botelho, as president of AMAL, said the Algarve has to become a year round destination and that cycling and bicycle tourism can help this aim, while claiming that the cycle routes that exist are fit for purpose.

In September 2016, the Secretary of State for Tourism, Ana Mendes Godinho declared that the Algarve’s ecovia cycle route, which covers much of the Algarve and is noted for missing sections, vandalised or absent signage, blocked off paths and a lack of maintenance, will "take advantage of what already exists and connect up the missing bits so that there is a continuous route across Algarve."

This is after eight years of waiting for the completion of this EU funded project that failed as it relied in regional councils’ cooperation and enthusiasm.

Godinho also said in 2016 that money will be no problem, "both the airport operator, Tourism of Portugal, Algarve Tourism and business owners are together in this project. What we want is to build a product that works as a whole,” with Desidério Silva committing to "put the pressure on and make municipalities aware that these connections need to be made."

To make the Algarve a coherent cycling destination would be easy to achieve. Then, the benefit of internally important races such as the Volta ao Algarve would really pay off.




+1 #1 Peter Booker 2017-12-07 09:54
Desidério Silva committing to "put the pressure on and make municipalities aware that these connections need to be made."

We may easily see that Desidério´s pressure amounts to very little indeed. The signage is rotting in the sun, and I have notice no change in the maintenance of the route itself.

It seems that the Câmaras are not cooperating as they should in this scheme. And yet as an ex-Presidente himself, Silva should know just how to exert pressure on his ex-colleagues. He is just not effective.