The young Portuguese has signed a contract that will see him ride for our squad until 2021.
Hailing from Caldas da Rainha, João Almeida has made a name for himself as early as 2016, when he won the national junior road race and time trial titles, a performance he repeated this year, but in the U23 ranks. In between, he became the first ever Portuguese rider to triumph at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, concluded seventh overall at the prestigious Tour de l’Avenir and came very close to winning the 2018 Girobio, finishing runner-up after being caught behind a crash on the final day.
A strong all-rounder, João has been on Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s radar for some time now, joining the team during our winter training camp on two occasions and impressing each time with his talent, mentality and work ethic, which have now landed him a two-year contract with the UCI World Team Classification leader, an agreement that will see him become the first ever Portuguese rider in the history of the squad.
“Deceuninck – Quick-Step was always my first choice and joining them is a dream come true. The atmosphere is great and I could see during the training camps that there’s a great bond between everyone – riders and staff – and this is an aspect that I really like. Also, when I made my decision, it was important that Deceuninck – Quick-Step is a squad known for helping young guys grow. I’m looking forward to my first World Tour season, when I hope to help the team, learn and improve as much as possible”, said the 21-year-old, who comes across from the Hagens Berman Axeon team and is currently riding the Tour of Utah, where he leads the best young rider classification and sits seventh overall after three days.
“We are known for our knack of spotting young guys, promoting them on the World Tour and developing them into successful riders over time. The latest in this long line is João Almeida, who we have been following for a few years, thus getting an idea what he is capable of. The strong and consistent results he has had underline his talent and ambition, and knowing he will ride for our outfit gives us a lot of satisfaction”, explained Deceuninck – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere after the transfer of João, the 160th rider to sport the team’s jersey.
Photo credit: ©Sigfrid Eggers