After another immeasurable team performance, the 22-year-old took second and more bonifications in Monselice.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step put in again a huge exhibition of panache at the Giro d’Italia, shaping the race inside the final 20 kilometers and helping João Almeida rack up his fourth top 3 finish and thus cement the overall lead. The Caldas da Rainha native continued to defy expectations while writing history at his debut Grand Tour, which he leads since the summit of Mount Etna.
Stage 13 was on paper one for the sprinters, but the GC contenders had other plans and set an relentless tempo that dropped all the fast men. Deceuninck – Quick-Step had the numbers in the newly-formed group and positioned Almeida at the front, controlling the attacks that came before the top. Mikkel Honoré and James Knox were again outstanding in the way they kept things together and pushed hard on the descent and the flat final part, increasing the gap over the chasers and setting up João for the finish in Monselice.
Fausto Masnada also chipped in to the remarkable effort of the Wolfpack, who helped the group stay away despite being outnumbered by the chasers. Coming out from the final turn, Honoré led out the maglia rosa, who demonstrated again demonstrated both calmness and a fast turn of speed as he took second, behind Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates), for his fourth top 3 finish at the race. The bonifications gained helped Almeida – who equalled the record for the most days spent in pink by a rider before turning 23 – extend his advantage over the closest pursuer to 40 seconds.
“I want to begin by saying a big thank you to my teammates, who did an incredible job for me today, just like in the past two weeks. The group was quite small after the final descent, I had three guys with me and we planned to go for the stage win. They rode their heart out in the closing kilometers, we would have loved to win, but one guys was faster on the line”, João explained before taking to the podium to receive the pink the pink and white jerseys. “Overall, it was a good stage for us and we can be satisfied. We took another top 3, I gained some bonus seconds and we showed an incredible team spirit. It’s incredible to have the maglia rosa on my shoulders for the 11th consecutive day and this boosts my confidence ahead of the weekend.”
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