Distance: 96 km
Elevation gain: 3645m
Day three was billed as one of the hardest stages of the nine days and it was also the first time the route was used for the TransPortugal. This made it a little more difficult for the organisers to give us information about what to expect except for their route scouting experience. One thing was for sure – expect three climbs that would require technical skill, stamina, power and patience.
The day started off with a 6km climb that had gradients of up to 15% as we left Guarda via the wind farm on the top of the hill. This was followed by an amazing and very quick Roman road that had a bit of everything – speed, rocks, loose sand and switchbacks. It was probably my best decent of the three days so far.
The smiles on our faces were soon wiped off when we were faced with a 10km climb, again with a gradient of up to 15%. The start of this climb presented the most difficulty with loose sand, ruts (from all the rain) and the most steepness. After a short 3km rest there was another 11km climb that started to really hit most riders. Unfortunately this was only a precursor to the climb of the day!
After another excellent decent into S. Gabriel on unused dirt track and cliff paths the mountain we needed to scale to reach the finish line stood in front of us. It was a 17km climb with 16% gradients in some places and fortunately it was less technical then the other climbs which meant riders could get into a good rhythm in most places. The trip odometer on my gps ticked by very slowly but eventually the summit was in view and this definitely gave me a boost to finish the climb and finish with a 3km road decent into Penhas Da Saude.
This was an amazing day’s riding and again we were spoilt with stunning scenery, local support and a very comfortable hotel at the end.
Day four is no rest day but apparently it will be an easier ride then today – 132km and 2605m climbing as we make our way to Ladoeiro.
- 1st: Luis Leao Pinto (POR) 4:59:32
- 2nd Tiago Silva (POR) 5:19:51
- 3rd: Milan Spolc (CZE) 5:24:00