Almeida - It's never too soon to take the maglia rosa

João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) at the Giro d'Italia
João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) at the Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Two years ago, when João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) took his first major step in a Grand Tour on the Mount Etna stage of the Giro d'Italia and claimed his first-ever maglia rosa at age 21, realistically there was no knowing how long his dream of staying in the pink jersey would last.

The answer was much longer than widely expected. After taking in the opening time trial at Palermo in the delayed Giro d'Italia edition of 2020, Almeida seamlessly moved up to first on Etna, where he placed 11th a little behind Wilco Kelderman and Vincenzo Nibali. The performance was impressive enough, but became even more so when he stubbornly remained in the lead for a further 14 days, finally finishing fourth overall.

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Alasdair Fotheringham

Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The IndependentThe GuardianProCycling, The Express and Reuters.