US pro roundtable: How far can João Almeida go in Giro d’Italia?
Joe Dombrowski and Brandon McNulty say Joao Almeida could go far in this Giro d'Italia.
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The 2020 Giro d’Italia is in full-swing, and for the next several weeks, we will be covering every angle of the Italian race here on velonews.com. As an added bonus, eight American riders started the Giro, and they have lent us their expert perspective to help shed light on the event and all of its glorious trappings.
We have questions about the Giro, and our pro riders have the answers. So, every day throughout the Giro we will roll out a new Pro Roundtable, with expert perspective from two pro riders and one VeloNews editor. Today, the questions focus on how far race leader João Almeida can go in the 2020 Giro.
How big of a surprise is João Almeida been so far in this Giro?
Joe Dombrowski: I would say the biggest surprise so far in this year’s Giro is Almeida. In a way, it is not such a surprise as he has been consistently good all year. He was already good in February and has been consistently there since the restart.
Brandon McNulty: A bit, yes. He already seemed very good in that first time trial in Palermo. He’s shown a lot of class this whole time he’s been in the pink jersey. That’s impressive for a rider in his first grand tour.
Andrew Hood: Everyone knew he had class, but it’s been impressive how he’s been able to fight to keep the pink jersey for so many days. He’s been consistently performing at a high level on both sides of the racing stoppage. I remember seeing him light up the Vuelta a Burgos. His teammate Remco Evenepoel outshined him, but Almeida was right there. Having an experienced Deceuninck-Quick-Step around him is proving pivotal as he carries the leader’s jersey into the second week.
Could Almeida win this Giro?
Joe Dombrowski: For me, I could see him holding the pink jersey all this week. I would say that of the GC contenders he is one of the best time trialists, and this is a TT-heavy Giro, so perhaps he could even win. There has been talk about whether we will even be able to do the mountain stages as planned. It is impossible to know at this point. Like everything this year, there are so many things that are just out of our hands. I hope the race can go forward as planned. I would think that Almeida would benefit from an easier final week. But again, who knows.
Brandon McNulty: He’s already surprised a lot of things, and we’ve seen younger riders surprising everyone this year. There is a lot of racing left, so you never know. It’s tough to say. He did lose a few seconds in stage 9. That was such a sharp finish, and you can’t really know how well he’s going. We’ll see how everyone is good really soon anyway.
Andrew Hood: There is a pathway for Almeida to win this Giro. The race has already been altered by crashes and COVID-19 positives that have seen three of the pre-race favorites out of the race. Weather could be a big factor in the final week. If some of the harder stages are rerouted over easier terrain, that could open up possibilities for Almeida to hang on. Two time trials favor Almeida against the climbers. The general consensus is that the experienced GC captains will be able to dismantle Almeida in the final week. The joke going around now is that the Giro will not be canceled come hell or high water so long as Nibali is still in the race and still has a chance to win.