Almeida in Catalunya lead as Porte and mountains loom

João Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) pulled on the white and green leader's jersey at the Volta a Catalunya, just shading fellow young general classification hope Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) to finish third on the stage.

100th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya 2021 - Stage 2

Joao Almeida of Deceuninck - Quick-Step during Stage 2 of the 100th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya 2021 Source: Getty

It was a fine ride against the clock for Almeida, only finishing behind time-trial specialists Rohan Dennis (INEOS Grenadiers) and teammate Remi Cavagna to move into the race lead after two stages had been completed.

"I did a good TT, maybe I should have pushed myself a little bit more in the middle part but I was afraid of killing myself," Almeida told reporters at the finish. "I was feeling good after yesterday [Monday] even though I was unlucky just before the final climb and had to make an extra effort to get back into contact with the group. But today I was in good shape."

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The 22-year-old Portuguese rider has made a name for himself as one of the best all-rounders among the general classification contenders. He can time-trial, sprint, has an aptitude for one-day classics and is one of the better climbers around. 

"Coming into the race I knew that the time trial was one of my weapons and I could gain some time thanks to it, and it's great to see I've done that," said Almeida.

Almeida holds the lead for the moment, but has a number of general classification stars breathing down his neck with McNulty equal on time currently and more established names like Adam Yates, Richie Porte (both INEOS Grenadiers) and Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) within ten seconds of his lead. The majority of those vying for the overall win in Barcelona are also well within striking distance if they can prove themselves good enough on the climbs. 



The Volta a Catalunya will continue tonight with Stage 3 to Vallter 2000, a summit finish that has been popular with race organisers in recent years and finishes at a peak of 2,243 metres above sea level. Vallter 2000 is the main feature of an otherwise non-descript stage, the climb is 11 kilometres long and the average gradient sits at a difficult 7.6 per cent.

You can watch all the action from the peak of Vallter 2000 on SBS VICELAND from 1.15am AEDT tonight, with the race streamed live on SBS On Demand to all Australian timezones as well. 


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2 min read
Published 24 March 2021 at 9:29am
By SBS Cycling Central
Source: SBS