The Mortágua Centro de Animação Cultural auditorium was filled to capacity this past Saturday, February 2, for the team presentation and celebration of the UCI Continental Team Miranda-Mortágua, which returns to the road this season. The 10 cyclists, technical staff and administrative staff were presented in a formal ceremony to the sounds of the band "Cordas Partidas." The Velo Clube do Centro also celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2019 and the gala was marked by the onstage presence of many cyclists who have represented the team over the years. Their presence concluded the ceremony in a show of honor.
10 cyclists make up the squad for the 2019 season. Some of them are new to the team while others got to experience the joy of homecoming, as was the case of Gaspar Gonçalves, Daniel Freitas and Hugo Sancho, the latter a native son who returns to his origins with elevated ambitions. Two young cyclists, Artur Chaves and Tiago Leal, are returning after racing with the team in 2018. The team’s new faces are Ivo Pinheiro, Pedro Pinto and the Spaniards, Cristian Mota, Sergio Vega and Jesús Nanclares.
The technical staff includes Francisco Casaca and Diogo Casaca (masseurs) and mechanics Hélder Silva and Carlos Ribeiro. The team’s administration is made up of Francisco Casaca, Xavier Silva, Válter Sousa and Pedro Silva, president of Velo Clube do Centro, and director sportif for Miranda-Mortágua.
Moved by emotion, project leader Pedro Silva said that, "this is a project with a lot of history and is celebrating 20 years this year. We continue to be at the highest level of cycling in Portugal. This can only fill all of us with pride — this team and all those who unconditionally support us."
Delmino Pereira also praised the honorable presentation provided by the team and stated "cycling has only to win with teams with this dynamic. If I were a cyclist, I would be very motivated to belong to this team and to be part of a presentation of this level."
João Filipe Miranda, CEO of Miranda & Irmão, the world leader in bicycle drivetrain components and the team's main sponsor, was another massive presence and said that "this year the team is testing the new modular crankset, the lightest in the market." He also took the opportunity to wish all the cyclists and the coaching staff good luck.
Finally, the mayor of Mortágua, José Júlio Norte, saw last Saturday as "another milestone in Mortaguense sport." The presentation, which had a full audience, was also a source of pride on the part of Mortágua’s mayor. "I am sure that Pedro Silva will fill us with pride once more — he has at his disposal a totally new team, which makes this season even more challenging."
The presentation ended with a tribute from Pedro Silva to Bruno Sancho, a native cyclist from Mortágua who represented the team for several years and scored significant results.
The Club Velo do Centro, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, has not forgotten the contributions made by Bruno Sancho.
Miranda-Mortágua is currently a week away from the start of the 2019 season. On February 10, they’ll turn the pedals for the first time in competition this season with the Aveiro Region opening race, a race that starts in Sever do Vouga and finishes in Estrarreja.
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