José Marques, 61, is a former Portuguese professional cyclist. After the end of his career, he was sporting director of continental teams. In the last years he is part of the technical team of the Portuguese Cycling Federation. Among other functions, he is the national coach of para-cycling and one of those responsible for designing the route of the 2021 World Championship, which will take place at the Estoril Circuit, Cascais, between 9 and 13 June.

The national coach believes that the Estoril Circuit will provide an intense competition. And perhaps it could be a surprise. “The circuit is essentially flat. But it will become sinuous, a real broking legs and arms. This is due to the various tops, not too steep, but some prolonged. But also due to the wind. In June it blows mainly in the north-south direction, with some intensity. The finish line, in a slight rise, should have a head-on wind”, says José Marques, who confesses: “The route is more selective than the graphics suggest”.

Comparing with other routes, so that the participants can have an idea of what they will find in Portugal, José Marques assures that “it is not as demanding as Maniago, but it is more difficult than the Ostend race, where the Championship would take place the World in 2020”.

The official believes in the sporting success of this competition. There are several reasons for optimism. “Athletes are looking forward to being able to compete. To do it in a race with this dimension, in which world titles will be awarded, is an added motivation. On the other hand, in a year of Paralympic Games, the teams want to give the greatest competitive intensity to their riders so that they present themselves in the best condition in Tokyo”, explains José Marques.

The National Para-Cycling Coach also looks at the World Championship as a way to attract more Portuguese practitioners. “Those people who, in the face of an injury or disability, have not yet felt motivated to play sports, will find an example in the World Championship, perhaps it is the moment that will lead them to make that click that brings them closer to sport”, underlines José Marques.

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