Deceuninck – Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team (Italy) - Press Release: Our 22-year-old Grand Tour debutant became the first Portuguese in more than three decades to lead the race.
João Almeida kept hitting new heights, moving into the Giro d’Italia overall lead after the race’s first mountain stage, which took the peloton atop the mighty Etna. Almeida, who since the start of the season gave indications of his blossoming talents in several stage races, dazzled again, this time against a stellar field that included Grand Tour and Monument winners.
“Leading a Grand Tour is a dream come true! This performance left me speechless, I can barely find the words to describe how I feel. The pace was high on the last climb, so I just tried to control my effort. When the wind began blowing hard close to the top, I did everything to just hang in there and make it through the pain. It was a sufferfest until the finish, but I emptied myself out there, because we are the Wolfpack and we always give our best”, said the third Portuguese rider in history to lead a Grand Tour. “I am happy and proud to wear this iconic maglia rosa, which I will try to keep as much as I can, this I promise.”
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images.