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Joao Almeida signs five-year deal at UAE Team Emirates

ALPE DI MERA VALSESIA ITALY MAY 28 Joao Almeida of Portugal and Team Deceuninck QuickStep Egan Arley Bernal Gomez of Colombia and Team INEOS Grenadiers Pink Leader Jersey in breakaway during the 104th Giro dItalia 2021 Stage 19 a 166km stage from Abbiategrasso to Alpe di Mera Valsesia 1531m Stage modified due to the tragic events on May the 23rd 2021 that involved the Mottarone Cableway UCIworldtour girodiitalia Giro on May 28 2021 in Alpe di Mera Valsesia Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
João Almeida at the Giro d'Italia 2021 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

João Almeida has signed a five-year deal with UAE Team Emirates. The 23-year-old, who has finished inside the top-ten at the Giro d'Italia for the last two years, leaves Deceuninck-Quick Step at the end of the season having enjoyed two years of consistency without yet winning a WorldTour race.

The talented all-rounder had an impressive stint in the U23 ranks, finishing second in the Baby Giro behind Aleksandr Vlasov in 2018 before joining Patrick Lefevere's team at the start of this season. 

In 2021, after a disappointing start to the Giro d'Italia he came back to finish sixth overall, having just missed out on the podium in 2020 after wearing the maglia rosa for most of the race. His consistency has seen him finish inside the top-ten at every WorldTour stage race that he has started since January 2020 – apart from that year's Tour Down Under.

“I am really looking forward to this new chapter in my career and in my life.
I feel like the move to UAE Team Emirates is coming at the right time and I’m sure I will be happy on this new adventure. The team is growing every year and I can’t wait to be a part of it," Almeida said, having agreed to leave Deceuninck back in the Spring, according to Lefevere.

"I am quite a thoughtful person by nature and I find myself already dreaming and visualising about the future and I’m super excited about it."

 Joxean Fernández Matxin, who has attracted some of the most talented youngsters in the world to the team over the last few years, praised the qualities of Almeida. Earlier this year the team signed Juan Ayuso from the U23 ranks, while Finn Fisher-Black was taken from Jumbo Visma's development team. 

“Almeida is a rider we’ve known for many years since he was a junior and we are delighted to welcome him to UAE Team Emirates. João is a cyclist of great quality and we have no doubt that he will be a strong pillar in the team. He’s a hugely talented and versatile rider and I’m sure we’ll enjoy many great successes together with him in our squad. Our aim is to strengthen the team year by year and we have full confidence that João will bring great things to the group, both as an athlete and as a person," said Fernandez.

The team are expected to announce experienced climber George Bennett in the coming days as well as Marc Soler.