Two days into the action and still with three hard days in the saddle looming ahead, racers need to hang tough and keep their eyes on the prize and the light at the end of the tunnel. That light is quite possibly a flashing red-alert for a long winter of Covid lockdown, so let's appreciate our good fortune in getting to see this one out. It's certainly shaping up to be one fine way to sign off the short-lived 2020 race season. The Lousã course has been shape-shifting before racer's very eyes. Lines in the soft dirt continue to distort and break down or build up at an unprecedented rate under duress from an overload of fast moving rubber. What might have been the line of choice for the podium yesterday is perhaps tomorrow’s big time-sapping pitfall, a flat tyre or a crash. There's a lot to think about all the way down this 'true racer's' track.
The inside line always holds strongest appeal, but naturally, to make it work in your favour will take bicycle heroics. These line-choice dilemmas are old school. Maybe that's why we have Myriam Nicole and Tracey Hannah on top in the women’s and Minnaar and Thirion sharking for a podium or better in the men’s. What about Loris Vergier you say? Well the 24 year old Frenchman simply appears to be the fastest off-road pedal biker on the planet right now, whatever the course, whatever the conditions. Maybe Reece Wilson would have something to say about that, maybe Amaury Pierron too, but then there's also a pack of hungry race wolves ready to prove the theory wrong tomorrow morning as we charge head-on into the first race of two here in Portugal. Bring the action.