Athens: Who is Sergio Paulinho?
Sergio Paulinho may not have been widely known before the Olympic road race, but his record underlin
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE So who is Sergio Paulinho? He’s Portuguese and the silver medallist in the Olympic road race, that’s who – and the only rider able to follow Italian stallion Paolo Bettini on the final two laps of the 224km Olympic road race. While others suffered sunstroke and fell by the wayside, Paulinho stuck to his task. Even Bettini’s vicious accelerations on the final lap were not enough to deter him. To say that Paulinho (now with the LA Pecol team) surprised a few people would be an understatement. The 24 year old may not be known in the wider world but in Portugal he has already achieved some recognition. Paulinho rode for two seasons with the ASC-Vila do Conde team (he was third in the world championships under-23 time trial event in 2002 and ninth in the Tour of Portugal in 2003) prior to rejoining LA Pecol this year. Paulinho became Portugese time trial champion in June this year and also won two stages – one a rolling road stage and the other a time trial – in the Tour of Portugal and finished sixth overall. So maybe he’s not such a surprise package after all – after Saturday’s performance it seems certain that his agent will be a busy man this autumn.