Almeida assumes that goal was to win the stage and reveals strategy for time trial

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João Almeida maintained the leadership in the Giro.

Portuguese cyclist João Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) said he wanted to “really win the stage” this Friday, in which he was runner-up, settling for the six-second “bonus” to reinforce the overall lead.

“The group was very small in the last 10 kilometers, I had three teammates with me. We tried to go for the victory, because I can be fast in these small group sprints. The team deserved that I had won, but the [Diego] Ulissi was faster “, said Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep), after a sprint in which the Portuguese still won six seconds.

Ulissi (UAE Emirates), 31, completed the 192 kilometers of the 13th stage between Cervia and Monselice in 4: 22.18 hours, beating the pink jersey with the sprint, with the Austrian Patrick Konrad (BORA-hansgrohe) closing the podium of the step.

In general, Almeida took advantage of the six seconds of bonus to extend the advantage in the first place, with 40 seconds for the Dutchman Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb), second, and 49 for the Spanish Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren), third, in a day that did not cause major changes.

“The goal was really to win the stage, the bonus is just a bonus,” said the 22-year-old Portuguese, who said it would have been “fantastic” to win a stage with the pink jersey on, on a day when he added the fourth podium in steps, none of them in the highest place.

On Saturday, the squad will face the second of three individual time trials in the 14th stage, between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, with 34.1 kilometers, before a high mountain stage on Sunday in Piancavallo, followed by the second day of rest.

In the inaugural chrono, João Almeida was second, just behind the world champion of the specialty, the Italian Filippo Ganna (INEOS), at a key moment for the current leadership, being able to take the day to extend the advantage in front, before the arrival of the high mountain in the last week of “corsa rosa”.

For the chrono, the cyclist from Caldas da Rainha did not open the game and said that it can be “good or bad” for him, for being a “long time trial”, pointing out as candidates to take time off the Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain- McLaren), Dutchman Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb), according to the general, or American Brandon McNulty (UAE Emirates).

Still, “40 seconds is a big advantage”, which he doesn’t think he can lose on Saturday, on a day when the platoon has to choose between switching, halfway and before the main climb, from the time trial bike to a normal one or keep as is.

“I’m going to stay on the time trial bike, I don’t want to change,” said only the Portuguese, in contrast to British teammate James Knox.



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