How did your passion for cycling come about?
JR: I always liked cycling. The cycling culture in my region is very big, and we have always had great references in this sport. However, I think that the victory in Ricardo Mestre’s 2011 Tour of Portugal made me wake up the dream of being a professional cyclist.
2019 was a fantastic season on an individual level: winner of the Tour of Alentejo, winner of the Tour of Portugal and Golden Dragon (athlete of the year). Do you think it is possible to overcome these results? What are your future goals?
JR: 2019 was a dream year! I have the notion that the victories I had are not easy to repeat. Fortunately, I’m in a team where it becomes easier to achieve the best results. My colleagues, staff and the rest of the W52/FCP organization make me believe that I can at least match the 2019 results. Just like my colleagues will be able to do.
My future goals are to improve as a cyclist, to be more consistent and complete. If I can help my team even more.
You have built a solid and growing career. In your opinion what are the essential characteristics of a professional cyclist?
JR: Above all cycling requires a lot of discipline. In order to evolve and achieve our goals, we have to be very disciplined in training, in rest, in nutrition. Then, of course, it’s essential to follow the teams, the colleagues, the genetics, the luck… Basically it’s a set of factors that determine what we are as professionals.
Professionalism implies a lot of discipline and some sacrifices. How many hours do you train a day and how do you organize your training week? How careful are you to keep in shape?
JR: The intensity of your training depends a lot on the phase of the season. As we get closer to a big goal, the application has to be bigger. I think it becomes easier to measure the number of kms during the year. I usually do about 20 to 25,000 kms a year, with some months stronger than others.
The care is, as I said, very disciplined and strict in training, rest and feeding.
2020 is an atypical year. How have you managed all the constraints caused by Covid19? Tell us about the adaptation of your training method and how you find daily motivation, despite the constant postponements and cancellations of competitions.
JR: No doubt 2020 has been a different year. Above all for the concern and the uncertainties. At the beginning, it was very complicated by the restrictions we had, but fortunately, in the interior of the Algarve, you can train without putting your health and those of others at risk. Obviously, the postponements were complicated to manage because we’re getting into shape and suddenly it doesn’t make any sense… motivation is something the cyclist always has!
The choice of bike and components is fundamental for the athlete’s performance. In your opinion, how important are the wheels?
JR: The wheels are fundamental for good performance in training and competition. In fact, wheels often determine the quality of a bicycle. Fortunately in W52/FCP we have the support of BlackJack, which has undoubtedly been a major element in our recent results.
Regarding Blackjack wheels, how do you evaluate their performance? Which features do you value most?
JR: The performance of BlackJack wheels is very good. I really like their weight/resistance ratio and the rigidity they have. Oh, and I have to say that the durability is fantastic… we are not exactly gentle with the material in the competition! (laughs)
What’s your favorite Blackjack model? Why?
JR: I like to see the wheels with a little higher profile, like the C50. On days when I want to take some weight off I like to go for the C35 Blackjack.
What can we expect from W52 FC Porto on the return to competition?
JR: From W52/FCP we can always expect victories!
What advice can you give to youngsters who aspire to become professional cyclists and who look to you as a reference?
JR: The main advice is never to give up on your dreams. If we want it bad enough, we can do it! Nobody says it’s easy, on the contrary, but every effort is worth it when we achieve our goals.
Dream Trip: Australia
Hobbies: Walking my dogs
Favourite movie: I can’t select just one
Favourite band: Anuel AA / Jack
Favourite dish: Salmon pasta
Indispensable subject: Mobile phone
Childhood idol: Lance Armstrong
Name: João Rodrigues
Team: W52 FC Porto
Age: 25 years old
Place of birth: Faro (Algarve)