Perhaps a somewhat strange headline at the top of an article, but we'll explain it all. It is the end of November. Above us for days a steel blue sky and with it a pleasant temperature averaging twenty degrees. Life is good in the Portuguese Algarve. The vacation season has been over for a few weeks. It is an interim period before the winter visitors arrive again.

Most of the (second) houses have their shutters down. Entire complexes and streets thus make a deserted impression. From the terraces the chairs and tables have been taken inside. On the doors it says that the owners are on vacation. Yet it is not so difficult to find your entertainment. Because we come here regularly, the area is already quite familiar. A plus is that house, garden and kitchen bikes with a shopping basket in front are available at our apartment, so we can go out every day to get to know the region even better and make new discoveries. In other words, you try to look for something specific. If you can then make a combination between what you come across and cycling, the day is already good!


Portugal is a country of ceramics. Everywhere you go you see houses completely covered with colorful ceramic tiles. Others make do with a little less and have tiles around the doors and windows, for example. In addition, there are beautiful tableaus with a saint, the Virgin Mary or images with a sailing ship (Portuguese are traditionally sailors), a peasant scene or just a free creation. Furthermore, many houses have tile panels on the pillars of the entrance gate or next to the front door with the word Casa (house) followed by a name or reference to something. We got off our bikes several times to take a closer look at one of these tile works of art.

Casa Oliveira

About 200 meters from our apartment, we kept passing a villa with a tableau on the garden wall next to the gate with a dozen tiles bearing the name Casa Oliveira (House of the Olive Tree). Then you start thinking does it really have anything to do with an olive tree or is it just the common Portuguese surname? Everything is hermetically sealed, so ringing the doorbell is out of the question. Then you start to do some philosophizing. Are there lines to something that came to mind? A few days later we pass another Casa Oliveira and there on the tableau is even a wreath with olive branches around it with a huge olive tree in the garden. Again, this house is totally enclosed. Here at least it is clear where the name comes from. But the name Ollveira keeps coming to mind.

Nélson Oliveira

Let’s get to the point. We are in cycling every day for a reason. We’re going to do a trio of cycling profiles and the first to bridge the gap to the rider who has been riding for Movistar since 2016: Nélson Filipe Santos Simões Oliveira, born March 6, 1989, in Vilarinho de Barro. From an early age, he shows that he can ride time trials well. He became Portuguese time trial champion in the rookies (2004), juniors (2006), U23s (2008, 2009,and 2010). Among elite riders, he captured the time trial title in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016. In 2014, he also became Portuguese road champion. His palmares still include the notable item that he won the mountain classification inde ZLM Tour in 2012. We went to find that out! It turns out that in the third stage Verviers-La Gileppe (184 km) he was part of a leading group of four riders and collected his points there. In the period 2011-2023, he was at the start of a major tour nineteen times (Giro d’Italia: 3, Tour de France: 7, Vuelta a España: 9). As a special mention, he also finished those rounds. His best ranking was a 21st place in the 2015 Vuelta in which he also took his only stage win. He crossed the finish line solo on September 4 in the 12th stage Calatayud-Tarazona (178 km) with a one-minute lead over a group of 23 riders.


Ivo and Rui Oliveira

Ivo Emanuel Alves Oliveira and Rui Filipe Alves Oliveira were born twins on Sept. 5, 1996, in Vila Nova de Gaia. Both have been under contract with UAE Team Emirates since 2019 and come from Axel Merckx’s Hagens Berman Axeon stable. Especially on the track, the twins have already accumulated a nice palmares. Ivo is most successful through 2023 with 15 national titles, two European titles in the pursuit and a world junior title in the pursuit. Rui goes through a shorter period on the track, winning five national titles through 2020 and becoming European champion in the waste race in 2017. On the road, they also pick up their victories. Ivo becomes Portuguese time trial champion: juniors 2014, promises 2018 and elite 2020. In 2023, he also becomes champion on the road. Again, Rui does not do as well, but he does become national champion on the road among the promises in 2017. Ivo starts in 2020 (101st) and 2022 (131st) in the Vuelta a España. Rui rides the Giro d ‘Italia in 2022 (141st) and the Vuelta in 2020 (119th), 2021 (74th) and in 2023 (148th). This ranking also makes him the red lantern bearer. After all, someone has to finish last! Their older brother Hélder (1983) also raced, but he has since said goodbye to cycling.

Photo delivered by Team Movistar

So we have come full circle. We continue our search for new (cycling) discoveries.

Text and image if not indicated differently: Teus Korporaal

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