Enjoy a close encounter with the “Volta ao Algarve” on February 20th 2019!
Every year in February the world’s best cyclists assemble at the starting point and take on the first challenge of the New Year. This Algarve circular race, promoted by the UCI, is reckoned to be one of the best races in Europe and is surpassed only by some of the World-Tour races. Again this year the starting line-up is a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of contenders in both Classic and Grand-Tour races.
Lisa Bikes Algarve is offering you the opportunity to enjoy a close encounter with this exceptional race.
Information about the routes
This circular ride will showcase the beauty of the Algarve in all its variety, the stunning coastline, many historical sites and the hilly, unspoilt, inland region, all with a very good road network. A great opportunity to test your fitness! The daily distances vary between 35 and 100 kilometres. For those participants who would prefer not to cycle the whole route, we offer a transfer service which will take you to the designated viewing point. From here you will cycle to the finishing line.
You will stay in the same hotels as the cycling stars and will perhaps have the opportunity to meet some of them personally. Our cycle tours, tailored specially to tie in with this event, will take you each day to the start and to the finish of this race. In between these two points you will cycle either with a guide or independently, taking in specific points where you can watch the race in action. Then finally you will reach the finish where you can cheer on your favourites as they sprint for the finishing line.
Day 1 19.02.2019
Arrival in Faro, ideally by air, and then by taxi to your hotel (not included, 15 euros approx.).
In the evening you will be welcomed by the LisaBikes team. We will discuss the programme with you and hand over your bicycles, making sure everything is correct for you.
Dinner will be in your hotel with a wonderful view of the sea, the marina and Faro Old Town.
Day 2 20.02.2019
The professional cyclists: 199 km
This first stage is also the longest of the race. The start is in Portimão. The route goes along the south coast and then up into the hills of the Serra. It continues out to the west coast and then back to the south coast to the finish line in Lagos.
LisaBikes cyclists: 61 km and 700 hm
The tour begins with a transfer to Portimão where you can watch the start of the race. Then you get on your bike and set off up into the Serra. You can stop in the mountain village of Monchique and watch the peloton go by. Then you cycle back down to the coast to your destination, the historic town of Lagos. The harbour promenade is a long straight road and so it is the perfect spot for you to be really close to the final sprint! We will then transfer you to your hotel in Portimão. It is situated on very high cliffs above the “Praia da Rocha” beach.
Day 3 21.02.2019
The professional cyclists: 187 km
Today’s stage begins in the hinterland of the Algarve on the border with the Alentejo. The route goes first in a southerly direction and then goes up to the highest point of the Algarve, the Foia summit, 902 metres.
LisaBikes cyclists: 71 km and 1.500 hm
Today you will also cycle up to the Fóia summit! You start directly from your hotel. The route takes you through a region resplendent with orange groves and on to the historic town of Silves, the erstwhile capital of the Algarve. After this you begin the climb up towards the Fóia summit and to a great viewpoint where you can watch the main body of cyclists go by. Then you too face the challenge of the steep climb up to the summit – and of getting there in good time before the first racers reach the finish line. After this you will be transferred to your hotel in Carvoeiro – another hotel which stands on high cliffs and affords a stunning view of the Atlantic Ocean.
Day 4 22.02.2019
The professional cyclists: 20 km time trial
For the professionals a time trial is scheduled for today. The circular route begins and ends in Lagoa. At first the terrain is undulating. Along the final coastal stretch there are some steep up and down sections.
LisaBikes cyclists: 37 km and 400 hm
In contrast to the two previous demanding days, today offers a relaxing ride. First you cycle from your hotel to the starting point of the race where you can watch all the procedures and build up as the professionals begin the time trial. You continue along the coast, following the race route quite closely. You will be able to stop at designated points and watch the professionals flying past. You then cycle on to your hotel which is situated in the centre of Albufeira, close to the Fishermen’s beach.
Day 5 23.02.2019
The professional cyclists: 198 km
Today’s start is in Albufeira and goes in a westerly direction. The route leads first into the hills of the Serra and then all the way to the river which forms the border with Spain. From the river it continues on to the most easterly point of the Algarve and from there back along the south coast to Tavira.
LisaBikes cyclists: 70km and 1.150 metres of climbing.
Today you can watch the start of the race right by your hotel. Then you cycle towards Paderne and then into the Serra. This section of the route follows exactly the same route taken by the professional cyclists but is so organised that you will always be ahead and will be able to stop at designated points to see them whizzing past. The tour continues through the fertile Barrocal region with its small villages, pastureland and fields of fruit and vegetables so typical of this region. When you reach Tavira the excitement will really build! There will be a mass sprint on a long, straight stretch up to the finish line. Finally, you cycle to your hotel which stands on a hill above Tavira. It has a great view of the Gilão river and of this little town, so rich in history.
Day 6 24.02.2019
Fifth and final stage:
The professional cyclists: 173 km
Traditionally the last stage ends in the small hamlet of Malhao which is situated in the middle of the Serra at 500 metres above sea level. There are several steep sections with the final one topping them all. Just in the last two kilometres they will climb 220 metres including one 20% gradient. It will hardly be a mass sprint to the finish line!
LisaBikes cyclists: 64 km and 1.300 hm
From your hotel you cycle towards São Bras de Alportel and then into the Serra and on to Malhão via Barranco do Velho. Some sections of the route are those taken by the professional cyclists – so you are not spared the climbing! In the last section you will take a break to watch the peloton cycle through. Then you have to carry on and tackle the steep climb to the finish line. The professionals are shown no mercy – they have to tackle the 2km long steep section twice. This gives you the opportunity to watch the dramatic final sprint. Afterwards we will drive you back to your hotel in Faro – where you spent the first night.
Day 7 25.02.2019
Depending on when you have to leave, you may have time to see something of Faro. From the modern marina, an archway (where the storks love to nest!) takes you into the lovely Old Town with its cobble’s streets, many restored buildings and a 16th century cathedral. Within and outside of the Old Town by there are many small restaurants and little shops where you can buy souvenirs to remind you of what we trust will have been an enjoyable and memorable week.