Portugal’s sole rider aims high

2014-04-12 00:00

PORTUGUESE national downhill champion Francisco Pardal qualified in 54th place for today’s men’s elite final, but he was looking for an improvement when it counted.

Pardal is not part of a team, and is the only Portuguese competitor in the first leg of the UCI MTB World Cup hosted in Pietermaritzburg, meaning he is in the country all on his own. “It’s just me and my bike,” Pardal told Weekend Witness.

Last year, Pardal finished 39th at the world championships held in the city, and was part of a Portuguese team, but for the World Cup, it’s different, he said.

“I came alone just with my bike and my kit and I have some sponsors who have been good to me. It’s not easy for me, but it’s important I get good results for next year to get me into the international team,” he said.

Having trained a lot, Par­dal said he needed a good result in Pietermaritzburg, but the track was not perfect for his style of cycling.

“I need something much more technical. But, maybe I’ll have a good result tomorrow [today].”

Pardal said if it were possible he would go to all the legs of the World Cup, but felt it would be hard due to funding.

In two weeks’ time, the World Cup’s second leg will move to Cairns in Australia.

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