We are in Portugal this week, for our first European race of February.

A new-entry on the calendar, the Figueira Champions Classic is scheduled to take place just a couple of days before the Volta ao Algarve. The course is one for the attackers, with an undulating first part followed by three laps of a tough circuit featuring two climbs: Florestal and Enforca Cães. Averaging 8.8% over two kilometers, the first of these includes ramps of 14% and is the place where the race is expected to explode, long before the finish.

Soudal Quick-Step will tackle the 190km Portuguese one-day race starting in San Pedro and concluding in Figueira da Foz with a seven-man team comprising Kasper Asgreen, Rémi Cavagna, Tim Declercq, European Champion Fabio Jakobsen – the first member of the squad to score a win this year – new wolf on the block Casper Pedersen, Stan Van Tricht and Ilan Van Wilder.

“The race won’t be easy. Due to the presence of that climb featuring double-digit gradients, a bunch sprint will be very difficult, but never say never. All our riders here have had a solid start to the season, are motivated, and this gives us confidence. Many of the guys will have a free role on Sunday and we’re curious what they can do. I think we will have an offensive race once we hit the circuit, and the local laps should suit us, so we hope to get a good result at the end of the day”, said sports director Tom Steels.


Photo credit: ©Luc Claessen / Getty Images

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