Joao Almeida wore the pink jersey for 15 days and only cracked in the queen stage on Thursday. He is now fifth in the rankings. “I am proud of what I have achieved”, says the leader of Deceuninck-Quick Step. Remco Evenepoel and Patrick Lefevere had words of praise for the young Portuguese.
At 22 springs, Almeida has surpassed herself in the pink jersey for the past 15 days. In addition to that pink jersey, he also put himself in the spotlight by a second place, two third places and a fourth place. “I am proud of what I have played for each other”, he said, “but on the other hand, I lose the pink jersey here and that is a shame. Anyway, my opponents are just stronger and I couldn’t do anything about that today. I fought for it, but I was halfway through the Stelvio on my limit. Then you go a little further, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to ride that pace up. So I chose my own pace to ride up. In the end, I don’t waste that much time, but still enough to stop wearing the pink. The others were stronger and I didn’t have the legs. I did not reach their level. ”
Still, the Portuguese had somehow enjoyed the Stelvio climb. “I love this col, I said that beforehand and I will repeat it again. It was super tough, but somehow I enjoyed it. My family was on top and also some Portuguese supporters. I even cried for a moment from emotion there. Now the stage is over, the pink dream too, but I fought for it. ”
Only positive reactions
Teammate Remco Evenepoel also saw that he fought for it. “Chapeau Joao and the entire Giro team. I take my hat off for so much courage and persistence. Champions! Good luck in the next days ”, said Evenepoel on Twitter.
Sports director Patrick Lefevere was also full of praise for Almeida despite the loss of the pink. What a fighter, what a team. We lost the battle today, but we are coming back stronger ”, Lefevere said on Twitter.
Compliments rained on the Deceuninck – Quick-Step twitter page. “Nothing but endless respect and admiration for this young man who lived up to the pink jersey for fifteen days.”
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