The 23-year-old soared to an emphatic win on the uphill finish in Przemysl.
João Almeida became the first Portuguese in 17 years to lead the Tour de Pologne and only the third in history from his country to claim a stage win there after an enormous ride in the final 1500 meters of Tuesday’s 201km stage.
The fight for victory came, as expected, on the final climb of the day which ramped up to double-digit gradients and didn’t offer any moment of respite from the moment the road tilted upwards. French Champion Rémi Cavagna was instrumental for Almeida, bringing him to the fore just before the road went left and the ascent began. Without losing too much time, João got out of the saddle and launched an attack of magnitude that saw him pull clear with the flamme rouge in sight.
A rider of incredible tenacity, last year’s Giro d’Italia revelation continued to dance on his pedals and maintain his gap over the fragmented bunch from where Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) launched a counterattack with 500 meters left. The Italian joined our rider just before the final bend, but showing an incredible fighting spirit, Almeida accelerated again and made sure of remaining in front of his opponent, outsprinting him for half a bike length.
The victory – his first in the World Tour since turning pro with Deceuninck – Quick-Step at the beginning of 2020 – moved João into the yellow jersey, with a four-second buffer over the two riders rounding out the general classification podium.
“I am so happy, because this is such a great win for me. I was a bit nervous before the start of the final climb, but as soon as we arrived there I noticed how good I felt and decided to launch an all-or-nothing attack. I focused only on myself and on managing my effort, and even after Ulissi came across I continued to remain calm and still had enough left to surge to victory.”
“To get the win here, on such a brutal climb, gives me a lot of satisfaction, and the yellow jersey that came with it is just the cherry on the top. In the next days we will see what we can do in the general classification, but for the moment I want to enjoy this unforgettable day for me together with this amazing team that was again of such great help”, Almeida said after scoring Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s 41st victory of the season.
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