Rally Cycling starts the third edition of the GP Beiras e Serra da Estrela this Friday in the northern town of Meda, 50 km west of the Spanish border. Taking place April 13 – 15, the 537 km three-stage race is a climber’s showcase, with courses that wind through the beautiful and backbreaking hills of the Serra da Estrela Natural Park.
With a healthy amount of elevation gain during the race, a roster full of climbing talent is essential for success. Rally Cycling will start Ryan Anderson, Robin Carpenter, Nigel Ellsay, Colin Joyce, Ty Magner, Brandon McNulty, and Emerson Oronte.
After a top 15 result at both GP Miguel Indurain and Klasika de Amorebieta, 19-year-old Brandon McNulty looks to put his stellar form to good use in Portugal.
“I’m pretty happy with my form going into these next races,” said McNulty. “Last Sunday’s race was pretty much as miserable as it gets weather-wise, and I was still able to ride strong and stay with the front group. GP Beiras will hopefully offer more chances to sneak closer and closer to a top result.”
The riders will face three low category climbs during the 177 km first stage to Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo. With only six km separating the final KOM and the finish, the team will look to keep Magner, Anderson, and Joyce in the front group to contest the sprint finish. The queen stage to Seia comes on day two and features three category-two ascents. McNulty and Ellsay should be the protected riders on the stage while Carpenter and Oronte will have their sights set on the breakaway.
If the general classification is not settled by the final day of racing, the 4,000 ft ascent of Serra da Estrela on stage three will undoubtedly be the deciding factor in this year’s race.
Despite the high level of competition in Europe, you get the feeling that a top result is not far off.
“We have been knocking on the door for a couple of weeks now,” said McNulty. “I know it will be a successful weekend if we are able to execute a plan and race well together. This race offers us the opportunity to really participate in the bike race and race as a team and with that hopefully, a result will come.”
Director: Pat McCarty