The ascent of Senhora da Graça is one of the most anticipated moments in a Tour of Portugal, whether by its hardness or by the human frame.
Senhora da Graça is the name given to the summit of Mount Farinha (whose name is due to its conical orography that resembles a lot of flour), a mountain 947 meters high, located in the vicinity of the village of Mondim de Basto, in the district of Vila Real. At the top of the mountain is located the Sanctuary of Saint Senhora da Graça, which gives it its name.
The ascent to Senhora da Graça is one of the usual routes of the Tour of Portugal in cycling, adding a great community of fans when there ends some stage.
The entrance of this ascent in the course of the Tour of Portugal occurred in its 40th edition, in 1978. At this time, the route of the Tour included already other mountainous difficulties, such as the ascent to the Tower (at the top of Serra da Estrela), passing both climbs to compete among themselves the 'title' of the most iconic course of the Portuguese race. Since then, the climb to Senhora da Graça was not present during the race in 1983; in 1980 was present in the course but the race was neutralized and did not get to climb up there.
With an elevation of 620 meters, the climb has 8.5 kilometers of constant climb with very few rest areas. It is a climb that is made at a high pace and the biggest difficulty is in the final half of the climb, as you can see in the altimetry. With percentages of 10.5% maximum slope is a rise of elimination. And now the climb is smoother with a better tar than when it had a mountain tar, rugged and that required more power to the athletes. The mountain is made initially with some straight lines with some open curves but as you get to the top, the curves are more closed and at the elbow. With the arrival of the last two kilometers to the goal, there are no such curves and we watched the goal approach in the form of a spiral.
Marco Chagas, Carlos Moreira, Jose Luis Rebollo, Quintino Rodrigues and João Cabreira were the only cyclists to climb on the ascent of Saint Senhora da Graça.
Marco Chagas, in 1985; Jorge Silva, in 1991; Massimiliano Lelli, in 1996; Zenon Jaskula in 1997 and David Blanco in 2010 were the winners in the stage and in the overall final standings of the Tour the same year. Marco Chagas, Venceslau Fernandes, Manuel Cunha and Claus Moller won the Senhora da Graça and, in subsequent years, the overall classification of the Volta.
José Santos is the sports director with more wins in the ascent of Mondim de Basto. In total, there were four victories: Manuel Vilar won in 1987, the following year they repeat their victory with Carlos Moreira, Jose Luis Rebollo triumphs in 1998 and in 2003, Basque Pedro Arreitunandia takes the best on opponents.
The first foreign triumph in this arrival happened in 1989 by Santiago Portillo, of the Lotus-Zahor. Five years later, Felice Puttini of Brescialat raises her arms at Mount Farinha. Massimiliano Lelli opened a range of ten consecutive victories for cyclists outside of Portugal. Following the Portuguese, it is the Spaniards who are more likely to win this climb. The last to win were Eladio Jimenez in 2007, Juan Jose Cobo in 2008, David Blanco in 2010 and Sergio Pardilla in 2013.
List of winners in the Senhora da Graça:
1978 – João Costa; 1979 – Marco Chagas; 1981 – Benjamin Carvalho; 1983 – Venceslau Fernandes; 1984 – Manuel Cunha; 1985 – Marco Chagas; 1986 – Carlos Moreira; 1987 – Manuel Vilar; 1988 – Carlos Moreira; 1989 – Santiago Portillo; 1990 – Joaquim Gomes; 1991 – Jorge Silva; 1992 – Quintino Rodrigues; 1993 – Quintino Rodrigues; 1994 – Felice Puttini; 1995 – António Correia; 1996 – Massimiliano Lelli; 1997 – Zenon Jaskula; 1998 – Jose Luis Rebollo; 1999 – Michele Laddomada; 2000 – Claus Moller; 2001 – Jose Luis Rebollo; 2002 – Joan Horrach; 2003 – Peio Arreitunandia; 2004 – David Arroyo; 2005 – Adolfo Garcia Quesada; 2006 – João Cabreira; 2007 – Eladio Jimenez; 2008 – Juan Jose Cobo; 2009 – João Cabreira; 2010 – David Blanco; 2011 – Hernani Broco; 2012 – Rui Sousa; 2013 – Sergio Pardilla; 2014 – Edgar Pinto; 2015 – Filipe Cardoso; 2016 – Gustavo Cesar Veloso; 2017 - Raúl Alarcon.
Winners of the Senhora da Graça Stage in the last 10 years