Almeida ousted from Volta a Catalunya lead at Vallter 2000

VALLTER 2000 SETCASES VALL CAMPRODON SPAIN MARCH 24 Arrival Joo Almeida of Portugal and Team Deceuninck QuickStep Green Leader Jersey during the 100th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya 2021 Stage 3 a 2031km stage from Canal Olmpic de Catalunya to Vallter 2000 Setcases Vall Camprodon 2125m Disappointment VoltaCatalunya100 on March 24 2021 in Vallter 2000 Setcases Vall Camprodon Spain Photo by David RamosGetty Images
João Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) wore the green leader's jersey on stage 3 but finished outside the top 10 to lose GC lead (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

After surprising the cycling world with how a 21-year-old could defend his 2020 Giro d’Italia lead so strongly for over a fortnight, João Almeida was unable to hold onto his top spot in the Volta a Catalunya for more than a single day, as multiple attacks by multiple rivals on the slopes of Vallter 2000 made it impossible for the Deceuninck-QuickStep rider to keep control of the race.

Just like in the best whodunnit murder mysteries where the villan turns out to be several people, not one, Almeida’s lead crumbled in the face of attacks ranging from veterans Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) through to Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange), Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo), and Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers).

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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.