Team Barloworld-Valsir will start the 67th Volta a Portugal (Tour of Portugal) on Friday, August 5, with high hopes. Although the team will be without South African champion Ryan Cox, who has had visa problems, team manager John Robertson believes that his riders are capable of a top five overall and a stage win.
"I expect David George to have a good tour," said Robertson. "There are others with good form, such as (Felix-Rafael) Cardenas, (David) Plaza and (Peio) Arreitunandia, and they will be ones to watch."
Arreitunandia, who turned 31 last month, finished third in the recent Brixia Tour in Italy, while George has had a quieter season and been riding in support of his teammates this year. The squad also includes talented Russian neo-pro Vladimir Efimkin as well as the experienced Italian pair of Eddy Serri and Giulio Tomi.
The Tour of Portugal is a 1623km, 10 stage race that loops around the country. It begins with an easy stage from Oeiras to Lisbon and then heads into some testing climbing stages. Regulars to the tour say that Saturday, August 13 will be the most difficult of stages, a 197km monster that includes three stiff climbs in the final 100km. The final stage, a 36km time trial, will suit George, who is a time trial specialist.