The promising Portuguese all-rounder Joao Almeida has left Deceuninck and signed a five-year contract with the United Arab Emirates team where he will race alongside two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar.
Almeida led the Giro d’Italia for two weeks in 2019, eventually finishing fourth. He went on to finish sixth there in 2020 while supporting Remco Evenepoel.
Almeida is a powerful time trial, can defend his interests in all but the most difficult mountains, and has a keen racing instinct with a competitive spirit.
“He is an extremely talented and versatile driver and I am sure we will have many successes with him in our team,” said team manager Joxean Matxin Fernadez.
“Joao will bring great things to the group, both as an athlete and as a person. “
The 23-year-old’s signing builds on the strength of the burgeoning newcomer from the United Arab Emirates, who has appeared alongside Jumbo-Visma and Ineos Grenadiers at the top of World Tour cycling.
“I’m a pretty thoughtful person by nature and I already find myself dreaming and visualizing the future and I’m super excited about it,” Almeida said.
After winning a second consecutive Tour de France in July, Pogacar signed a new seven-year contract, unheard of in cycling, making him the highest-paid star of the peloton.
© 2021 AFP