When we say inGamba is all about the pro experience, we mean it. And it’s not just about riding Tour de France winning Pinarellos, the wireless groupsets from SRAM or the incredible custom kit from Castelli, either. Those details are important – life is too short for anything but the best, if you ask us – but what really makes a trip with us unique is the people. From our founder João to our soigneurs and mechanics, there’s a serious amount of professional peloton experience in our crew.
Manu raced at the highest level for a decade, twice winning the Portuguese national championships – in 2009 and 2012 – while riding for teams like Liberty Seguros, Footon–Servetto–Fuji, RadioShack and Caja Rural.
A powerful sprinter, Manu took four stages at the Volta a Portugal over the course of his career, and even wrapped up the points jersey in 2013. He also had success at EuropeTour races like the Volta ao Alentejo and the Vuelta a Castilla y León, but along with some very happy memories at his home tour and his national championships, two days in particular stand out – and should give you some idea of the kind of talent you’ll be riding alongside.
Aged 26 and riding for Footon, Manuel surprised some of the biggest names in the sport by making an audacious move within the final kilometre at Stage 3 of the 2010 Tour Down Under to snatch his first WorldTour win from Alejandro Valverde and home-favourite Cadel Evans, who went on to take the points jersey later that spring at the Giro d’Italia. In the chasing pack that day there was also a young Peter Sagan.
Manu followed that win up the following year with another great display, this time closer to home, at the 2011 Volta a Catalunya, snatching the fourth stage to El Vendrell by outsmarting the famous HTC-Highroad lead-out train and besting Leopard Trek’s Giacomo Nizzolo and Jose Joaquin Rojas of Movistar to take victory in a furious bunch sprint.
He’s not the only member of the squad with race-winning credentials, obviously. Our very own super-soigneur Raul Matias – one of the few men trusted to work on the legs of Alberto Contador – raced for 14 years and pulled on the Portuguese national champion’s jersey in 1993, and of course we also have Monsieur Ventoux, Eros Poli. But the more the merrier as far as we’re concerned – especially when they’re on the front of the bunch giving the rest of us some sweet pro-level pulls!