On Road Cycling in the Algarve
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Coffee break with Jürgen Roelandts (Interview)
On Road Cycling in the Algarve
Pro cyclist Jürgen Roelandts will guide the participants of the Road Bike Week from November 5-12, together with his Lotto-Soudal team-mate, Jens Debusschere. Both Belgian ex-champs are big fans of the Algarve and train here every year.
We had a coffee with Jürgen and fired some questions at him:
Have you already recovered from the Giro? And how did you experience the race?
Yeah, I've recovered very well actually. The first week after the tour I was still a bit tired, but this is not bad after 12 days in the Giro. It was my first tour of Italy, but I really enjoyed it. With 4 team victories the experience is always nice. I love cycling in Italy, I also participate in Tirreno-Adriatico every year.
What does the rest of your season look like?
After the tour of Switzerland I'll prepare for the Belgian Championships. I also set my mind on the World Championships, mid-October in Qatar. I hope to be able to show a nice result over there.
Are you ready to come to the Algarve in November? Why is this one of your favourite places to cycle?
I've been training in the Algarve since 2004. Every year I spend around two months in this region. The asphalt roads are very good and there is not a lot of traffic. Sometimes you hardly see a car when you are cycling a bit more inland. The coastal and mountain views are beautiful too. Most hills are like in Flanders, short and steep, while the 900 metre Foia offers some real climbing experience. On top of that, the climate is moderate all year round. All ingredients for the ideal training location.
What's so unique about the road cycling week that you will be guiding together with Jens Debusschere?
It's fun and sports at the same time. It's great to cycle with people that share the same passion, in a stress-free off-season period. There's always a positive vibe. We have a good time with some laughs, drinks and we learn a lot from each other. It's the perfect way to start our new season. It's a pleasure to guide the cycling fans in an environment that I know very well.
What's on the cycling menu during this week?
I suppose around 5 tours with 2 or 3 longer rides and more height metres. Usually we cycle between 60 and 120 kilometres. On the rest day, Sagres is the ideal place to experience surfing or to taste the local specialities, such as perceves.
Should participants be afraid of your level of riding? Will they be able to follow you?
Absolutely not. We adapt our speed and if needed we'll split in two groups. This road bike week is also the new start for us, so we will cycle more slowly anyhow. 99% of the time everybody will be able to follow us, unless we pull a small sprint, then we hope they won't, haha.
Aren't the roads very bad in Portugal?
I think the roads in the Algarve are great, usually cleanly asphalted roads, so no concrete ways with holes like in Belgium, haha.
Can you do enough height metres in the Algarve, isn't it too flat?
You can do a lot more height metres than in Belgium. The more southwestern side, around Sagres, is a bit more flat, but on average you can do around 500 height metres every 30 kilometres.
How is it to stay at Martinhal?
It's a very beautiful and quiet 5-star resort where you easily can find some rest. There's also a nice atmosphere in general. It has many facilities such as different swimming pools, a fitness, wellness, a nearby beach, great food...
Speaking about food… What is your favourite Portuguese dish?
In general I always prefer fish when we go to a restaurant. If you ask for the special of the house, you can't do anything wrong in Portugal.