Portugal with four cyclists at the track World Championships and already thinking about Paris2024 – Sport
The Portuguese team of track cycling takes four athletes to the World Championships in Roubaix, France, which take place from Wednesday to Sunday, with eyes set on continuation among a world elite and on qualifying for Paris2024.
“It’s extremely important to have a good degree of points, on the one hand so that we don’t lose our qualification for the next World Cup, [dado que] points in this championship are important for the next World Cup. We have to maintain a good degree of score so we don’t lose these aspirations, “explained to Lusa the coach, Gabriel Mendes.
Maria Martins, who got a single medal at the 2020 Worlds with a bronze without zero, joins Iúri Leitão, João Matias and Rui Oliveira at the Worlds, with the Olympic athlete competing in omnium, elimination, scratch and points race. Non-male, will increase in action in omnium, madison, elimination, individual pursuit and scratch.
In Roubaix, one of the great ‘stages’ of world cycling, from the ‘Hell of the North’ which is Paris-Roubaix to the famous velodrome, Portugal will have a male trio and Maria Martins, seventh communication at the Tokyo2020 omnium, in which she made her debut Olympic country on track.
This month, in the Swiss city of Grenchen, Rui Oliveira was crowned European scratch champion and won bronze at Madison, alongside Iúri Leitão, this European ‘runner’ in the points. João Matias, on the other hand, was second in elimination.
That was “a good European Championship”, assessed Gabriel Mendes, even though ‘Tata’ Martins did not run so well, mainly due to a bad elimination race that jeopardized the omnium Olympic competition.
Still, and with the team already adapting to a track in Roubaix that is “new, with different characteristics”, from “longer straights to smaller curves”, the focus may not be on medals but on good results.
The qualification process for the Paris2024 Olympic Games has not yet been announced, which will soon be part of the International Cycling Union (UCI), it is certain that scoring will be essential, not only to earn points in the UCI’s ranking, but also to ensure continuity in the World Championship.
“In Olympic disciplines, if we don’t get a place at the next World Cup, it makes things more difficult, we are always dependent on others. One of the important aspects of this World Cup is getting a good score,” he added.
The national coach also assumed the ambition of “working, in the Olympic disciplines and others, to be in the first nations 12 in the world context”.
“If we are within this group of nations, we can consider that we are at a good level of score,” he said.
Given a “very high preference” in the championship of the main sports nations, talking about medals, especially in non-timed events, the bulk of what will have Portuguese in action, is ‘guessing’ within unpredictable specialties, so the promise is just of “hard work for the best possible output”.
‘Tata’ Martins is the first in the competition, on Wednesday, in scratch, followed by Rui Oliveira on Thursday, in the same discipline, while the Olympic race is eliminated. On Friday, the omnium is ‘throwed in’, with Iúri Leitão and João Matias in the individual pursuit.
On Saturday, Leitão runs the omnium, with the Portuguese performance in Roubaix closing on Sunday with Martins in points and Rui Oliveira and Iúri Leitão making a double in Madison.
Program of the Portuguese national team at the track World Cups:
– Wednesday, October 20:
Female Scratch – Maria Martins.
– Thursday, October 21:
Male Scratch – Rui Oliveira.
Female Elimination – Maria Martins.
– Friday, October 22:
Female Omnium – Maria Martins.
Individual male persecution – Iúri Leitão and João Matias.
– Saturday, October 23:
Male Omnium – Yuri Piglet.
– Sunday, October 24:
Race for women’s points – Maria Martins.
Madison male – Rui Oliveira and Iúri Leitão.