Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s 22-year-old came out on top Saturday afternoon.
João Almeida has had an unforgettable World Tour debut season. After impressing on the road in a number of races – the cherry on the cake being his stunning ride at the Giro d’Italia, where he finished fourth overall and wore the maglia rosa for 15 consecutive days – the young Portuguese all-rounder impressed also in the virtual world, winning the Challenge of the Stars.
The virtual tournament organised by RCS Sport saw eight riders face off in a head-to-head knock-out format, and João finished first after three very challenging rounds, which consisted of a 2.9km uphill section on the Stelvio, featuring a 12.75% maximum gradient.
“It was very hard, a short course but intense right from the start. In the first round I had a good rhythm from the beginning, which I could keep it until the end, while in the second one, the match-up ended earlier than expected, when Ciccone had a problem during the race at a moment when I was ahead. Then, the final was the toughest of them all, as my opponent started very fast. I had some difficulties in keeping up and at one point I was around five seconds behind, but then I went full gas, came back and won for a couple of seconds. I am very happy with this win, it’s nice to round out what’s been a great season with this success”, João said after winning the Climbers’ Challenge of the Stars.
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