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We continue our run-through of this year's World Cup races with a look at One Hundred Douro Paiva.

SmallDouro RegionUPDATE: There has been a change of date for One Hundred Douro-Paiva. Originally scheduled for Saturday 2nd July, it will now take place on Sunday 3rd. 

After making its first visit to Portugal in June, the World Cup finds itself back there again 2 weeks later, having travelled just 30km north-east from Castro Daire to the neighbouring municipality of Cinfães in the Douro valley, for One Hundred Douro Paiva, a Silver Label race.

The region is best know internationally for its wine production. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the traditions of vinification here go back 2,000 years, with terraced vineyards still dominating much of the landscape in the hills above the Douro river.

In more recent times, the area has had increasing appeal to mountain athletes. Having been scheduled to host the 2021 European Championships, unfortunately cancelled due to the pandemic, in 2022 Cinfães looks forward to welcoming the best mountain runners in the world.

"Joining the WMRA is a big step for One Hundred Douro Paiva, without a doubt," said Pedro Conde, of race organisers. "We’re reaching a lot more athletes now, not only in Portugal but also throughout the world, and we're looking forward to achieving a large number of runners for the many distances we have on offer.

"Mountain trail running is growing strong and steadily, and we want to contribute to this growth so that more people discover the sport and start enjoying all the good things the mountains have to offer."

At 45km, with 2,145m of climbing, One Hundred Douro-Paiva is the longest race in this year's World Cup. From the start in Cinfães, at 400m, the route takes runners south up the side valley containing the Bestança river, a tributary of the Douro. Immersed in the deep green of the forest, this is a beautiful section of the course and, although the elevation here is low, the terrain is challenging; technical, undulating single track trails and multiple river crossings.

Rising steadily to this point, the serious climbing gets underway as the runners leave the forest behind and ascend to the broad, open ridges of the mountains above, reaching 1,100m on the western shoulder of Perneval. Take a moment to look left from there and you should just be able to make out the finish line of Montemuro Vertical Run in the distance.

SmallIMG 9706Another descent and another climb takes runners to the rounded summit of Alto do Vale do Asno, where they turn north back towards Cinfães. But don't kid yourself that it's all downhill, there are multiple small climbs as the route wiggles its way all the way back down to the Bestança. On tired legs, the final 250m pull up to the finish could well prove decisive.

For a post race leg-loosener, runners might visit the stunning Alvão Natural Park, where the PR3 walking route takes you on a 12 kilometre circuit and includes a visit to Fisgas de Ermelo, one of the highest waterfalls in Portugal. A little further east, the Vale do Côa Archaeological Park features a remarkable array of ice-age art dating back over 20,000 years.

Cinfães is just over an hour's drive from the airport in Porto. Alternatively, the train will take you direct from Porto to Mosteiro, from where it is a 15 minute taxi ride to Cinfães.