The Israel Cycling Academy deserved a rest day in Portugal. Especially since yesterday and today’s stages were tough.

To make things tougher, Riley Pickrell is suffering from his injuries after a painful crash. He is actively trying to recover even though that is hard during a stage race. “Luckily, I am well looked after by our team staff.”

The Volta a Portugal is not ‘just a stage race’ – it is ten days of fast and furious racing. Pickrell: “This is my first stage race of this length and difficulty. I am remaining positive for now how I will feel when stage 10 rolls around and taking this race stage by stage.”

In stage 4 today, Pickrell had to push hard at the beginning of the race. “They did not let the breakaway go easily, but once the groups established, it was a more relaxed pace in the peloton.”

Monday, tomorrow, features a rest day for the continental team – whose riders are all under 23 years old.

Photo: Joao Francesca