Rally Cycling’s Brandon McNulty finished second during the brutal final stage of GP Beiras e Serra de Estrela in northern Portugal yesterday. The result catapulted him into fifth on the final general classification.
After weeks of coming close to a top result, there was relief in his voice after the stage.
“It feels really good,” said an exhausted McNulty. “I’ve been so close to a podium a few times this year so it was nice to finally get that. Coming into the finish today there was a roundabout at 300 meters to go that led into a very steep cobbled hill. I took a fast line through the turn and just put my head down and went hard to the finish.”
At the start of the day, the course was shortened due to snowy conditions, and the riders set off in a bone-chilling 38-degree rain. After only 30 minutes of racing, the peloton hit the 4,500 ft climb up to Serra da Estrela. The group disintegrated under the harsh conditions and the team did well to place Emerson Oronte in the lead group with Brandon.
“Over the top of the mountain, it was still wet and down to about 35 degrees, snow accumulated on the sides of the road,” said Team Director Pat McCarty. “The rest of the stage was quite hard and technical, with a dangerous final. Emerson was able to look after Brandon and set him up well for the last five very tough kilometers. From there Brandon just needed to have good legs, which he did. It was too bad he couldn’t get the win but very nice to see our guys finish off a tough stage race with a very respectable finish.”
The European team heads back to Spain this week for the Vuelta Castilla y Leon, April 20 – 22.
Stage 3 Results
1 GONZALEZ Mario Sporting Club Tavira
2 MCNULTY Brandon Rally Cycling
3 STRAKHOV Dmitry Lokosphinx
Final General Classification
1 STRAKHOV Dmitry Lokosphinx 13:26:57
2 FONTE César W52/FC Porto 0:01
3 BRANDÃO Joni Sporting Clube Tavira 0:09
4 CASIMIRO Henrique Efapel 0:12
5 MCNULTY Brandon Rally Cycling 0:12