Portuguese rider victorious on key mountain test
Joao Almeida and UAE Team Emirates put on an exhibition in teamwork on the summit finish of stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia taking an exciting victory to win his first Giro stage on the Monte Bondone.
The 24 year old Portuguese champion was well set-up on the run-in to the final climb with Davide Formolo and Jay Vine putting in huge turns to put pressure on the other rivals.
Diego Ulissi also played his part, dropping back from the breakaway to put in a hard turn on the front of a heavily depleted bunch.
Sensing weakness in his rivals and on a particularly strong day, Almeida hit-out for victory with -7km to go with only Geraint Thomas (Ineos-Grenadiers) able to follow.
The pair worked all the way to the line before Almeida summoned a final push to take Thomas in the sprint and earn UAE Team Emirates their third stage win of the Giro and the 28th season success.
Almeida : “This is a dream come true. I’ve come so close in the past to taking a stage win and I’m super happy, I’m speechless. My team did an amazing job. This was the hardest stage of the race so far and I took the risk to go on the attack. I took the risk and it paid off so I’m very thankful to my team, my family, my girlfriend and everyone who supports me. It’s a very special feeling.”
Almeida now moves up to 2nd on GC, just behind race leader Thomas and continues to lead the white jersey classification.
On Wednesday the Giro continues with a flat stage from Pergine Valsugana to Caorle (197km) on a day earmarked for the sprinters.
1.Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) 5:53:27
2.Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) s.t
3.Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) +25’’
General Classification after stage 16
1.Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) 67:32:35
2.Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) +18’’
3.Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) +29’’