VALDOBBIADENE, Italy (AP) – First Big Tour. First long trial. And first overall.
Portuguese rider João Almeida continues to put his best, most recently by increasing his grip on the pink jersey in the 14th stage time test at the Giro d’Italia on Saturday.
22-year-old Almeida has been in the lead since the endeavor to climb Mount Etna in Stage 3.
“We study every day,” said Almeida. “We’ll see how I react over the past week.”
Only seven stages remain before the race ends in Milan next weekend with another individual time trial – although the past week has been filled with grueling climbs through northern Italy and Almeida himself has admitted he has no idea how his body will react for the third time in a row. race week.
“I’m not afraid at all. I will continue to do my races and we will see day by day, “he said. “So far I feel good. Today I feel good. “
Recently, crowned world champion Filippo Ganna claimed his third victory in this year’s race. The Italian was traveling at an average speed of 48 kilometers per hour (30 mph) along the 34.1 kilometer (21 mile) route through the Prosecco vineyard from Conegliano to Valdobbiadene, taking 42 minutes, 40 seconds.
The course covers a short but very steep incline shortly after the start, Muro’s di Ca ‘del Poggio. A 1.1 kilometer “wall”, the climb displays an average gradient of 12.3% with a share of 19%.
Fans – most of them wearing masks – packed both sides of the trail along the climb.
Ganna Ineos Grenadiers team-mate Rohan Dennis finished second at the stage, 26 seconds behind, and American Brandon McNulty third, with 1:09 lagging.
Almeida – the last rider on the field – finished sixth, 1:31 behind Ganna. The Deceuninck-Quick Step racer now leads Wilco Kelderman with 56 seconds in the overall standings.
Pello Bilbao remain third overall, 2:11 behind, while McNulty moves up from 11th to fourth and trails with 2:23.
Two-time Giro champion Vincenzo Nibali is fifth, 2:30 behind.
Of the top five in the standings, only McNulty finished ahead of Almeida in the time trial – and Almeida got 16 seconds off Kelderman.
“I won more time than I expected,” said Almeida. “I hope to lose time for Kelderman – he’s a real time wizard. … That’s very positive. “
The longest race that Almeida has participated in is the 10-day Baby Giro for an under-23 racer in 2018. He finished second in that race.
“It was also my longest trial run, so I don’t have a lot of experience with this,” Almeida said. “But I had a plan and in the end it paid off.”
Ganna also won the opening time trial race at Palermo and then took Stage 5 with a solo win.
Including Jhonatan Narváez’s win in Stage 12, Ineos has now won all four stages in this year’s races despite losing team leader Geraint Thomas to a broken hip in Stage 3.
“It was not planned. “When we have our captain, we expect him (to win),” said Ganna. “This could be a completely different Giro. It’s been a good year for me. I have improved a lot. “
Before the stage began, race organizers announced that 512 coronavirus saliva tests carried out on riders and team staff members were all negative. The next round of tests will be conducted on the second rest day Monday.
Two full teams, Mitchelton-Scott and Jumbo-Visma, withdrew from Tuesday’s race following a string of positive results from the first day of rest. Overall competitors Simon Yates and Steven Kruijswijk were among those who tested positive and withdrawn from the race, as well as standout Australian Michael Matthews.
As for the race, another major test awaits Stage 15 on Sunday at the foot of the 185-kilometer (115-mile) mountain range from Codroipo to Piancavallo that concludes with a first category climb.
Giro is rescheduled from the May slot usually due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Other AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports