José Mendes took the biggest win of his career by claiming the Portuguese road race title in impressive fashion. The climber dropped companion Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) in the finale and soloed to victory.
The battle took place on a 177.1 kilometers course in Braga. The riders had to do eleven laps of a circuit with the climbs of Bom Jesus and Sameiro.
Nelson Oliveira attacked at the end of the penultimate lap and José Mendes was the only one able to respond. The pair rode together and in the moment of truth, Mendes left Nelson Oliveira behind.
Mendes reached the finish 18 seconds ahead of Oliveira and so got his revenge after the time trial where they finished in the reverse order.
“I am really happy for José,” said Ralph Denk, BORA – Argon 18’s Team Manager. “He is also strong an reliable when the hard races come. In Norway and Slovenia, he already showed good shape. Today he gave himself the best reward for the hard work in the last weeks.”
It is still unclear when Mendes will make his debut in the jersey. He is not part of the Tour de France team and is set to be the leader in the Vuelta.