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The winter time in the Algarve can seem a very long few months, with many businesses closed for the low season and few visitors around so it is great when a big event comes to the region to give it a much needed boost and the Volta ao Algarve cycle race has done just that this week.
It doesn’t matter if you are really interested in cycling as a sport, or if you are even interested ion sport at all, the excitement of this cycle race in the Algarve is impossible not to get wrapped up in and already hundreds of people have taken to the streets along the routes to cheer on the cyclists as they race past on the different legs of the race.
In the past the race has been seen as a very poor cousin of the bigger European cycle races but thanks to firstly the London 2012 Olympics igniting a passion for cycling, especially among the British and secondly to a couple of big name riders coming to the race themselves, the race has never been more popular.
Now in its 39th edition the Volta ao Algarve cycle race is being held over four days with the cyclists passing through many areas of the Algarve on the route which finishes with time trials.
Previous years have seen a five day and five stage race but the current economic situation has meant that organisers were forced to cut one day of the race to ensure that it could continue on in the future.
At one stage it was even unsure if the Volta ao Algarve race would even take place as organisers struggled to pay bills from last year and fought to attract the biggest names in cycling to ensure international coverage.
It was eventually acknowledged as being an exceptionally important event for the Algarve and for Portugal as a whole and since this decision it has been given a boost again!
What would have been nice is if the organisers actually let people know about the race a little earlier than a day before with many people coming out of their homes yesterday not understanding why there was tape across the end of the road and they weren’t able to take their car out!
Many people also had no idea of the times of the races and where they were starting and finishing which meant that many more people could have been out to support the race if only they knew where to go and what time to be there.
The Algarve cycle race will continue on today and tomorrow, if you would like further information about the stages and the race times then please visit voltaalgarve.com where there are full details available.