Prime Climb

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Updated: October 27, 2020

European XCM champion makes ‘double Everest’ in a possible world record.

There’s only ever been two Portuguese world champions in cycling. The first was Rui Costa, who won the 2013 UCI Road World Championships in Tuscany, Italy. The other is Tiago Ferreira, who, in 2016, managed to win the XCM (Cross Country Marathon) World Championships.

Ferreira is already one of the best in the world in mountain biking, but he’s chasing even more: to achieve lasting dominance in XCM and go down in the history books of cycling.

New Challenge

Ferreira’s impressive CV began in 2013, the year he debuted to win the Catalunya Tour and the National XCM Championship. In 2014 he returned to win the Tour de Catalunya and in 2015 had one of his best years ever. He won again in the Spanish region, won the national championship for the second time and won stages of the World Cup in Mêda and Laissac.

A year later, in 2016, Ferreira achieved a series of historic achievements, becoming a national champion for the third time, winning again in Mêda and making his debut in the World Cup in the Azores. He also participated in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, was runner-up in the European Championships and, as we’ve already said, took the world championship in cross-country mountain biking.

That title meant Ferreira became only the second Portuguese to win a world championship in a cycling discipline.

In 2017, he maintained his impressive form and managed to accumulate more victories. He conquered the Tour of Catalonia and the National Championship for the fourth time, won World Cup stages in Laissac, Mêda and the Azores, was runner-up in the World Championships and was for the first time the XCM Champion of Europe.

There were yet more titles in 2018 and 2019, including claiming first place at the UCI MTB Marathon Series in Spain and at the Marathon European Championships in Norway, as Ferreira continued to cement his already enviable legacy.

What could there be left for him to do?

Big Climb

In an incredible feat of endurance, in July of this year Ferreira travelled to São Pedro do Sul in Portugal where he undertook a heroic ride from near the historic village of Gourim that saw him go from 10.00am that morning to 10.00am on the following day, July 23. Day temperatures were close to 40°C and night temperatures around 15°C as he tackled an amazing 17,753 metres of climbing in just 24 hours on his mountain bike.

With few stops and little rest over a 1.5km course with 214m of positive elevation, Ferreira covered 17,753m of accumulated positive difference – climbing more than double the height of Mount Everest in the process.

Straight Back Into It

The 11 S curves of the route turned out to be a challenge for the Portuguese, who made the biggest advances in the accumulated gap during the day. At night, the pace slowed, but his ambition did not, and his inspirational feat now awaits official world-record certification.

The Viseu athlete completed 83 climbs and a total of 247.5 kilometres on dirt tracks, suffering only one puncture during the intense, draining, marathon effort, and after braving the rugged landscapes of the São Macário mountains, he said: “I am very happy to have achieved this goal!

Tiago Ferreira Career Highlights

  • 2017, 2019 | MTB XCM European Champion
  • 2018 | 1st place La Leyenda del Dorado
  • 2017 | World Runner-Up Champion MTB XCM
  • 2016 | World Champion MTB XCM
  • 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 | National

Champion MTB XCM

“I thought the night phase would be the most complicated, but dawn ended up bringing the greatest weight of tiredness, especially with pain in the hands and feet. But I never thought about giving up, I was very well prepared and everything went well. I will wait three or four days until I can get back on the bike, then the normal preparation will begin as I expect to return to UCI competitions straight away.’’