The fourth stage of Brasil Ride, the Queen Stage, was a pool of emotions in the region of Guaratinga, in the South of Bahia. Just as in the previous days, the 100-kilometre stage had a new winning team, and a new duo to wear the yellow jersey – showing the high, balanced level of the eighth edition. The winners were Portuguese Luis Leão Pinto and Danish Soren Nissen, followed by the Italian duo Fabian Rabensteinter and Michele Casagrande, from Trek Selle San Marco 2016 winners of Brasil Ride moved into the overall lead on GC. Third on the day, Henrique Avancini (BRA) and Jiri Novak (CZE) are runners-up, with a 10-second gap.
Things finally click at Brazil Ride
After having difficulties in the first three stages, Portuguese Luis Leão Pinto – winner in 2012 – crossed the finish line in first place, along with his partner Soren Nissen. In the dispute for the title, despite crashing and damaging his bike with less than 10% of the stage, Henrique Avancini, along with the Czech Jiri Novak, managed to recover and chase their main competitors on the lead: Fabian Rabensteiner and Michele Casagrande. The Trek Selle San Marco number one duo finished second, after pushing hard during the last 2 kilometres, even in a day when Fabian had problems with his derailleur.
“The stage was longer and harder than the third one, but with good downhills and plenty of trails. We got another second place, but this time it is special, since we’re the leaders. This Thursday (19), we will see another long race, back to Arraial. Let’s see how it goes”, said Casagrande. “It was a hard race. We were close to Henrique Avancini and Jiri Novak, and Avancini crashed after approximately 10 km, and broke his shifter. He had to fix it with the bike cables. We tried to escape them three times, but after this, at 40 km to the end, I had problems with my derailleur and also fixed it the best I could, before the last climb on km 70, when I stopped to look after the bike”, remembers Rabensteiner.
For Henrique Avancini, after the problems in the beginning, a 10-second gap is not so bad. “After all I went through, one less bike part, I was limited. Eiter I used the brakes or the shifters. The Italians missed a good opportunity for opening a larger gap. Ten seconds is small damage”, assessed Avancini.
Win after help from the Blue Angels
For the winners today, Pinto and Niessen, this was a special win after difficult days in the three first stages of this edition. “The truth is that we had a bad start, since I had five stitches on my left leg while doing the prologue recce. I broke my bike’s chain many times on the second stage, and we got over one hour gap from the first riders. On the third stage we had difficulties again, and did all we could just to finish on time”, remembered Leão.
“In my first time in Brazil we had problems in the first three days. First with Luis’ injury. In the two following stages, we went through difficulties with Luis’ bike, that’s why we’re far from the top of the GC. We rode two hours more than our competittion, under extreme heat, and this got us very tired. After that, I told Luis not to give up, because we had to win at least one stage until the end, and we did it, and this stage everything went perfectly”, told Niessen.
Ladies and Masters keep their lead at Brazil Ride
While the Open has seen four different leaders on each stage, Ladies and Masters maintained their leads from yesterday. After seeing their hegemony threatened on the second stage, Bart Brentjens and Abraão Azevedo won once again in the category where they have been holding the title for the last four years. On the Ladies category, fourth consecutive win for Raiza Goulão and Margot Moschetti.
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Portuguese couple ride together in Brazil Ride
Since they started dating in 2002, Portuguese Celina Carpinteiro and Valerio Ferreira compete on Brasil Ride for the fourth time – they have raced in 2010, 2016, and 2017, but this time they ride in a special way: after getting married in 2013, for the first time Celina and Valerio are competing as a duo, in the couple’s debut in the ultramarathon.
“Valerio brought the bike into my life, when we started dating I was a soccer player, and he was a cyclist. He encouraged me and, if I was a champion in Portugal or in Brasil Ride, I owe this to him”, remembered Carpinteiro. “Cycling is my sport since I was 13 years old. She got injured playing soccer, had to stop for a long time, and I suggested the bike, which she saw as a transportation only. After she started, she went all the way without my help, and she showed she was very strong. We train together and we are a couple. The bike is our day to day”, said the Portuguese.
For the couple, even the wedding had the bike as central theme, with Ferreira and the guests riding bikes to the ceremony. The proposal, in March 2013, also had cycling involved, during their participation in Cape Epic, South Africa. “The bike is part of our lives, and so is Brasil Ride. I won in 2010, we came back twice, and now we’re together. It’s a very well-organized race, one of the hardest, with a warm reception from the Brazilians”, told Carpinteiro. “Brasil Ride is that kind of race that has always been hard, and where we take some lessons home. We always have to overcome unique difficulties. Physically strong is not enough to come here. You have to be mentally strong. The trick is to face difficulties, as if they were just one step ahead”, finished Ferreira.