Figueira Champions Classic 2024

2nd edition of this race. I love it. Kind of them to add another lap.


Around 2800 climbing meters. It is all about the lap.

The lap

Four of these.

There is one main climb here. Starts very difficult before it eases off just a bit. Then, the last section hits you like Monday morning. The best do it in 5:30 – it is for a puncheur.

The climb.

Here in 2D. Roughly 19.5 km from the top to the line.


Strong winds from the SW. 6-8 m/s. Sit at the front of the bunch in the opening half of the race, otherwise you are just out. This is Portugal, meaning there in general is hills or vegetation of some sort. As for the lap, it means a cross-headwind up the main climb, shouldn’t matter too much. We are in a city.

It means a cross-tailwind home though, which really suits the attackers.

How will the race unfold.

Your classic elimination race. Each time up Rua Parque Florestal, the peloton gets smaller. In the end, we will have a few teams will multiple options. Let’s take it from the penultimate time up, when helpers start to dry out.

This is a race and one team is by far the best. Quick-Step. They decide the outcome. What is their plan? Isolate the captains (Hirschi and Bagioli). The start list is not packed. So one team has options. What do they want?

I would play the numbers, but do the numbers beat the two main contenders? I doubt it. Funnel your resources to Evenepoel. On a good day he takes a solo, otherwise his sprint has improved the past few years.


Evenepoel – big favorite. The team can make it very selective, then he just has to deal with Hirschi in particular. I love the fact he starts his season in Europe. Despite all I write about him, he is too good to start in Argentina. Given recent years, he is the man to beat.

Hirschi – just stay in Remco’s wheel and hope you beat him. On this sort of climb, he is one of the best in the world. Or, at least in the top-10 category. I have him beating the Belgian in the sprint but it may not be so easy. The chances of Quick-Step having the numerical advantage is bigger than UAE having it.

Bagioli – dark horse category. Ended the season well in 2023. Let’s see how he performs when he is the captain more consistently.

Landa – Just not an ideal race for him is it?

Del Toro – man of the hour Down Under. He doesn’t follow his teammate or Evenepoel just yet. If it becomes a fight of numbers, he stands a chance. He seems race smart for his age.

Guerreiro – a top-5 contender. Loves double-digits.

Who will win?

Evenepoel. Usually start the season off flying.

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