Almeida honours the maglia rosa on Giro d’Italia queen stage

Almeida honours the maglia rosa on Giro d’Italia queen stage

Thursday 22 October 2020 - 19:12

Portuguese rider vows to continue fighting despite slipping out of the top three.

João Almeida’s reign in the coveted pink jersey came to an end on the ruthless gradients of the mighty Stelvio, but not without a brave fight, that earned the 22-year-old legions of new fans. Over the past two weeks, Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Grand Tour debutant perfectly embodied panache and the never-say-die Wolfpack spirit, which saw him pass some stern examinations in Valdobbiadene, Piancavallo and Madonna di Campiglio and write history with each day spent at the top of the general classification.

The overall leader knew that it was always going to be a tough ask to keep his position after Thursday’s stage, which featured the Stelvio – the climb that achieved legendary status after Fausto Coppi’s outstanding exploits at the 1953 edition – but he kept producing a valiant effort after getting dropped with 50 kilometers to go and show the same grit and determination that have carried him to top of the Giro d’Italia.

The U23 rider with the most days in the maglia rosa (15), João didn’t give up after losing contact on the punishing double-digit gradients of Stelvio and continued to push on, despite becoming aware that his pink dream was coming to an end with each kilometer. Almeida put himself deep in the pain cave and with the help of Fausto Masnada continued to soldier on, even clawing back time on the long descent to Laghi di Cancano, the last climb of the stage, used for the first time in the race.

Eventually, after leaving it all out there on arguably the hardest day of the season, he concluded stage 18 in seventh place, almost five minutes down on winner Jai Hindley (Sunweb). Despite being divested of the pink jersey he was wearing since Sicily, João put on a brave face at the finish and drew plenty of encouragement from his lengthy spell in the lead.

“Today was very hard. Others were stronger, I’m not yet at their level yet and there wasn’t too much I could do about it. I was pretty much on the limit halfway up the climb, so the only thing I could do was ride at my own pace. On the other hand, being in pink on the Stelvio was really special, despite losing first place on the GC. It was also every emotional, as my family and a couple of Portuguese fans were at the top cheering for me.”

“I am a bit sad not having this iconic jersey anymore after more than two weeks, but at the same time happy of what I achieved and proud that I had such a great team by my side, which helped me live the pink dream. I don’t know what this race still holds for me until Milan, but I’m ready to do my best”, said João, who continues to be Deceuninck – QuickStep’s best placed rider in the general classification, where he sits in fifth with just three days to go.

 

Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images

Race details

1 Jai Hindley
Team Sunweb
6:03:03
2 Tao Geoghegan Hart
INEOS Grenadiers
,,
3 Pello Bilbao López de Armentia
Bahrain - McLaren
0:46
4 Jakob Fuglsang
Astana Pro Team
1:25
5 Wilco Kelderman
Team Sunweb
2:18
6 Patrick Konrad
BORA - hansgrohe
4:04
7 João Almeida
Deceuninck - Quick Step
4:51
8 Vincenzo Nibali
Trek - Segafredo
,,
9 Hermann Pernsteiner
Bahrain - McLaren
,,
10 Fausto Masnada
Deceuninck - Quick Step
4:55
28 James Knox
Deceuninck - Quick Step
26:58
32 Pieter Serry
Deceuninck - Quick Step
,,
46 Mikkel Frølich Honoré
Deceuninck - Quick Step
33:55
60 Davide Ballerini
Deceuninck - Quick Step
,,
125 Álvaro José Hodeg Chagüi
Deceuninck - Quick Step
,,
130 Iljo Keisse
Deceuninck - Quick Step
,,
1 Wilco Kelderman
Team Sunweb
77:46:56
2 Jai Hindley
Team Sunweb
0:12
3 Tao Geoghegan Hart
INEOS Grenadiers
0:15
4 Pello Bilbao López de Armentia
Bahrain - McLaren
1:19
5 João Almeida
Deceuninck - Quick Step
2:16
6 Jakob Fuglsang
Astana Pro Team
3:59
7 Patrick Konrad
BORA - hansgrohe
5:40
8 Vincenzo Nibali
Trek - Segafredo
5:47
9 Fausto Masnada
Deceuninck - Quick Step
6:46
10 Rafał Majka
BORA - hansgrohe
7:28
15 James Knox
Deceuninck - Quick Step
34:49
28 Pieter Serry
Deceuninck - Quick Step
1:27:38
30 Mikkel Frølich Honoré
Deceuninck - Quick Step
1:28:46
75 Davide Ballerini
Deceuninck - Quick Step
3:18:35
124 Iljo Keisse
Deceuninck - Quick Step
5:04:10
131 Álvaro José Hodeg Chagüi
Deceuninck - Quick Step
5:18:01
1 Arnaud Démare
Groupama - FDJ
221 pt
2 Peter Sagan
BORA - hansgrohe
184 pt
3 João Almeida
Deceuninck - Quick Step
94 pt
4 Diego Ulissi
UAE-Team Emirates
77 pt
5 Filippo Ganna
INEOS Grenadiers
72 pt
6 Andrea Vendrame
AG2R La Mondiale
66 pt
7 Patrick Konrad
BORA - hansgrohe
61 pt
8 Tao Geoghegan Hart
INEOS Grenadiers
51 pt
9 Simon Pellaud
Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec
50 pt
10 Thomas De Gendt
Lotto Soudal
48 pt
15 Davide Ballerini
Deceuninck - Quick Step
40 pt
16 Álvaro José Hodeg Chagüi
Deceuninck - Quick Step
39 pt
19 Mikkel Frølich Honoré
Deceuninck - Quick Step
36 pt
74 James Knox
Deceuninck - Quick Step
5 pt
91 Fausto Masnada
Deceuninck - Quick Step
2 pt
1 Jai Hindley
Team Sunweb
77:47:08
2 Tao Geoghegan Hart
INEOS Grenadiers
0:03
3 João Almeida
Deceuninck - Quick Step
2:04
4 Sergio Samitier Samitier
Movistar Team
26:00
5 Brandon McNulty
UAE-Team Emirates
33:00
6 James Knox
Deceuninck - Quick Step
34:37
7 Aurélien Paret-Peintre
AG2R La Mondiale
40:59
8 Sam Oomen
Team Sunweb
53:33
9 Ben O'Connor
NTT Pro Cycling
1:00:00
10 Matteo Fabbro
BORA - hansgrohe
1:00:46
13 Mikkel Frølich Honoré
Deceuninck - Quick Step
1:28:34
42 Álvaro José Hodeg Chagüi
Deceuninck - Quick Step
5:17:49
1 Ruben Guerreiro
EF Pro Cycling
234 pt
2 Thomas De Gendt
Lotto Soudal
122 pt
3 Tao Geoghegan Hart
INEOS Grenadiers
115 pt
4 Rohan Dennis
INEOS Grenadiers
103 pt
5 Ben O'Connor
NTT Pro Cycling
71 pt
6 Wilco Kelderman
Team Sunweb
54 pt
7 Jai Hindley
Team Sunweb
52 pt
8 Filippo Ganna
INEOS Grenadiers
48 pt
9 Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolás
INEOS Grenadiers
45 pt
10 Jonathan Klever Caicedo Cepeda
EF Pro Cycling
40 pt
29 João Almeida
Deceuninck - Quick Step
12 pt
52 James Knox
Deceuninck - Quick Step
4 pt
67 Mikkel Frølich Honoré
Deceuninck - Quick Step
1 pt
70 Davide Ballerini
Deceuninck - Quick Step
1 pt
1 INEOS Grenadiers 233:28:48
2 Bahrain - McLaren 28:01
3 Team Sunweb 28:37
4 Deceuninck - Quick Step 34:56
5 BORA - hansgrohe 51:45
6 Astana Pro Team 1:51:58
7 NTT Pro Cycling 1:55:52
8 AG2R La Mondiale 1:59:25
9 Movistar Team 2:05:30
10 Trek - Segafredo 2:39:52

Top results

1 Jai Hindley
Team Sunweb
6:03:03
2 Tao Geoghegan Hart
INEOS Grenadiers
,,
3 Pello Bilbao López de Armentia
Bahrain - McLaren
0:46
See all race results

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