For the first time since he stood atop the Enduro World Series (EWS) podium in Whistler in 2017, Jesse Melamed was in the medals.
He'd been close, with a fourth-place in Rotorua, New Zealand earlier this season, but to turn a near miss into a direct hit with a third-place showing felt gratifying for the 27-year-old.
"It's a little bit of redemption," he said. "It feels good because I feel like I've done well this season. I got fourth in Rotorua. Fourth is obviously amazing, I'm very proud of that, but it's not on the podium."
After what felt like a missed opportunity in Tasmania, Melamed took some time to regroup and rebounded with his bronze performance in Portugal.
Melamed rose throughout the weekend, starting with a 14th-place finish in the first stage but never missing the top 10 after that, winning stages 5 and 6 before taking consecutive third-place results to wrap the race. All told, he placed 38.58 seconds back of winner Martin Maes of Belgium.
Melamed explained that with riders crashing in the first few stages and posting times that were subpar for their standards, there was an opportunity for him to place highly.
"I'm just going to open it up and really push for it. If I win, sweet," he said. "I wanted to be able to push and ride the way I wanted to ride."
Melamed was hoping his winning ways would carry over for at least one more stage, as Stage 7 was the Queen stage, with an additional 40 points in the overall standings on the line for the winner.
Melamed noted that European races can throw some wrenches at riders like himself as those trails aren't like ones at home. The Madeira race, for example, included one of the oldest trails on the island.
"I really like trying to go fast on those trails. It's a challenge. It's a contrast from the first two races, which were on mountain bike trails and they were fast, aggressive," he said. "These were a completely different beast. You had to find the flow and I really enjoy trying to do that.
"It didn't feel like I was riding amazing that weekend, but just consistently well."
Conversely, the trails he's used to riding allow for a more intuitive ride.
"It flows very naturally and it's very easy to ride trails here for the first time and ride it the proper way," he said.
Melamed is keen to ride and race those trails in coming weeks, as the EWS season doesn't resume until June 29 in Italy, when he'll try to rise from his third-place position in the overall standings.
Also in Portugal, Whistler resident Andreane Lanthier Nadeau was ninth in the pro women's event while Carter Krasny was 14th in the men's under-21 race.
Full results are online at www.enduroworldseries.com.