Little, very little or nothing is being talked about Joao Almeida (Portugal, 24 years old) in this Giro d’Italia. The Portuguese continues on his way, unperturbed despite the fact that in this edition of the Pink Corsa Old ghosts from the past return. A COVID-19 that last year was the great culprit that the one from CAldas da Rainha did not complete his goal of getting on the podium when he was fourth overall. He then he was 49 seconds away from Michael Landa, but this year the situation is even better. He is also fourth, but 22 seconds behind the leader, Geraint Thomas. Big words. “Yes, for the first week I am happy. But facing the end, no. I want to finish on the podium, at least, but for now I’m happy”, the UAE rider confessed to AS during his virtual meeting with the media on the rest day.
The Portuguese is cautious, he does not rush, faithful to his style on the bicycle, when it comes to making predictions. “I don’t think there is a specific stage (let the Giro decide), but the best stage is in which time is gained from the rivals. If it is flat or mountainous, it does not matter. It’s a matter of gaining time”says Joao about the tactic to follow in a Giro that, as he admits, opens wide for all the favorites after the abandonment of Remco Evenepoel: “Now it will be a more tactical Giro and we will be able to have more options in the last week. It’s going to change a lot for the main contenders in the general classification of the Giro. My tactic does not change even if Remco is out of the Giro. I keep the same, be focused on making my career.
As the manager of his team recognized AS, Joxean Fernandez Matxinduring the days prior to the Big Partenza In Pescara, Almeida is “very strong”, a physical condition that is undoubtedly the best of his professional career. “I think I’m at the same level. The best form I’ve had before in a Grand Tour was in 2021, before the Giro. That was when I felt better and this year is the same. I’m better than last year ”, admits Joao who, despite his great reliability (4th and 6th in the Giro and 5th in La Vuelta) has never finished finishing on the big stages.
More than real options, if COVID and the rest of the misfortunes allow it, for Almeida to make history again for Portugal, orphaned by success since the World Cup won by Rui Costa or the deeds of the best runner in its history, Joaquim Agostinho, the last Portuguese rider to stand on the podium of a Grand Tour in the 1979 Tour de France. Now, in the Giro, history can repeat itself. Joao Almeida, who nobody talks about, but who everyone fears.
Roglic will definitely move too and we will not stand idly by and watch. Jumbo He doesn’t have the strong team they expected to have and will be forced to attack.