A COUNTRY ON HIS SHOULDERS. Brazil had spent six years with no riders in the WorldTour, after Murilo Fischer retired and before Vinícius Rangel joined the sport’s top-tier for the 2022 season. His arrival has brought hope and join to the cycling fans of the most populous country in Latin America, Vinícius’ character ready to fulfil those expectations. He’s a solid, attacking rider, who does especially well against the clock yet performs well in all terrains, and is afraid of nobody. From the very first minute he landed in the Movistar Team ship, and despite being just a 21-year-old, second-season pro, he’s become one of the most dynamic, liked members of the Blue outfit. His 2022 road race title, conquered with that characteristic ambition, or his magnificent breakaway in the Boucles de la Mayenne, which almost saw him opening his pro account, were the highest points of his debut year.
MAGNIFICENT REFERENCES. Rangel, who had been racing in Spain since 2018 -with the Bathco youth team from Cantabria-, raised eyebrows from many people in cycling with his late 2021 season, having joined the Telco,m outfit just in August after covering the start of the season with Brazilian structure ERT. He almost never left the top-ten of any classifications during the two following months, claiming two GC victories in the Vueltas of Cantabria and Salamanca and -turning the screw even tighter- taking 9th place in the U23 Worlds in Leuven, sprinting inside the group competing for silver. Unzué’s organisation, which had followed him for years, did not hesitate to offer him a place in its 2022 roster.
ON THE LAPS OF THE ‘GOD’. Not so many people know that, during his second junior season and his first year as an under-23 (2019-20), Rangel competed for the Valverde Team, the development squad founded by Alejandro, who shared so many training sessions with ‘Vini’ as he lived in Murcia during the racing season. In southeast Spain, he also spent the 50-day lockdown Spain experienced during the first wave of the pandemic, a traumatic situation for such an extrovert as him, who went back to Brazil in the following months – and had to borrow bikes from friends and training partners back home, as he had to leave behind his own machine in Spain to flee from there.