“Time to be on the radar,” is GC’s favorite method Joao Almeida (The UAE Team Emirates) outlines its strategy for Sunday’s critical stage race at the Giro d’Italia. But the Portuguese rider, who drove the Giro for 17 days in 2020, is currently reducing his options to wear forever pink in 2022.
Almeida has been low level so far this year tour in italywith a significant impact expected on Open TT failed to be realized. Equally despite the noticeably aggressive posture before preparing on Etna, says cycling news “It’s never too early to take the lead,” when the push came in, Almeida chose to stay with the main group throughout the climb. And on Friday’s long ride through the Basilicata Mountains, the 23-year-old threw an equally unknown character into the GC’s favorite main peloton.
However, after the eighth stage circuit via Naples, Almeida remained seventh on the GC and conceded that at Blockhaus on Sunday, the waiting game time would be over.
“It’s been good so far, and I love being under the radar,” Almeida told a small group of reporters at the start of stage eight. The podium, it’s time to be on the radar. Let’s see if I can do that. “
As for those he is expected to be in the general command battle, Almeida pointed to four main contenders: “[Simon] Yeats (BikeExchange-Jayco), [Richard] carapaz (Aeneus grenadines), [Romain] Bardet (DSM Team), and [Mikel] Landa (Muntasir Bahrain) all look very good. These are the ones who will fight for Jiro.”
However, currently, Almeida is disqualifying himself from fighting for victory. “It’s going to be tough, there are a lot of good guys here, so a podium here would be a victory for me. I think it’s a bit exaggerated at the moment.”
Fourth place in 2020 after a long spell at the top, Almeida isn’t the only card his team should play in the Giro. Aside from splits with Davide Formolo as in Stage 7 and unlike any of the other GC teams except DSM, Team UAE also has options in sprints with Fernando Gaviria and Max Ricci. But Almeida sees only advantages in this.
“For me, it’s good for them to have a runner here, Fernando and Max are really good in the apartment and then in the windy stages they can protect me as well. They have a lot of experience in these areas,” Almeida said excitedly. “Then on the big mountain stages, it’s not like there were a lot of players at the end, anyway.”
The next challenge however, is anything but static and Almeida is convinced, like all the other GC contenders, that it will be a real chance to unfold the overall battle. But his own view is that in addition to Blockhaus being inherently challenging to climb, there are relatively few opportunities in the stages immediately following.
For the next five days [after Blockhaus]It won’t be that hard, and there aren’t many opportunities. So I think on Sunday you will see people attacking.”