Estrada, Nacional

Foreigners in Volta a Portugal

Keegan Swirbul: “Someday I want to see Tadej Pogačar line up and see if he can take down W52”

North-american rider, 25 years old, from Rally Cycling. He debuted in the Volta a Portugal in 2020 and will repeat participation this year.

– Before racing Volta a Portugal, had you ever heard about the race?

Yes, of course, I had heard of the race before I did it last year. I heard that it is one of the most difficult races in the world with the heat and the climbs and the aggressive racing tactics.

– Was there anything in Volta that impressed you or that you retain until today?

There were many things about the race that impressed me! Especially during Covid last year. The Portuguese Federation had everything completely dialed and I felt very secure. The race courses were absolutely incredible and Portugal is one of the most beautiful countries in the world undoubtably. The riders in the race were mind blowing. So incredibly strong!

– Are there any international races that you can compare to Volta?

Honestly, I don’t feel there is any cycling race in the world that is comparable to the Volta. It’s a very unique race in that it is by far the most important target for all the Portuguese riders but in the grand scheme of global cycling, I don’t think it’s one of the most publicized races. Also the tactics in the race as well as the rivalries between the Portuguese teams are just so interesting and very much different than standard bike racing. In many cases it made the race much more difficult for me! Full gas all day!

– What is your opinion on Portuguese cycling and riders, based on your Volta experience?

My opinion of Portuguese cycling and the riders from Portugal is all very positive. I found the riders to be very very respectful even to teams like my own who are not Portuguese obviously. And no doubt they are some of the most talented riders on the planet. Someday, I want to see Tadej Pogačar line up and see if he can take down W52 (laughs).

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