Joao Almeida: I can't wait for my first Tour de France - it's the pinnacle of cycling

UAE Team Emirates rider on taking on the challenge of a Giro-Tour double

UAE Team Emirates rider Joao Almeida says his main focus is the Tour de France but the World Championships and Olympics are also big goals this year. SprintCyclingAgency
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Looking back at last season, I think I got off to a great start. Competing with the world’s best at Grand Tour level is what we train so intensely for and seeing that hard work pay off with a second-place finish at Tirreno-Adriatico was extremely satisfying. Moments like that fuel my passion and drive. The result filled me with determination and a real hunger to keep pushing harder.

Tirreno-Adriatico set me up really well for the Giro d’Italia where I felt incredible, especially on Stage 16. I had great sensations and knew I had to give it everything. When I attacked, I decided to push hard and went full gas to the line. It was pure adrenalin.

Crossing the line and beating a legend like Geraint Thomas to take my first Grand Tour stage win was one of the sweetest moments of my career so far. A Grand Tour stage win is a big deal in cycling, and to get that first one under my belt felt absolutely amazing.

Finishing on the podium, as well as winning the Youth Classification was further confirmation of all the hard work put in by myself and the team over those three weeks.

The feeling crossing the finish line – given the high level of competition we went up against – was amazing. The Giro is, and always will be, a special race for me. Although I missed it this year, I’m more excited than ever to be working towards the Tour de France.

To make my debut in the biggest race in the world is massive. We’re currently preparing at altitude, then I’ll race in the Tour de Suisse which will be my main preparation. The team is super strong, and of course we are confident. Tadej [Pogacar] is in great form, and the team is coming off a great Giro d’Italia performance.

We know the Giro-Tour double is a huge challenge, and there will be big rivals at the Tour, but we are ready for it.

We understand that anything can happen over twenty-one stages, so we need to stay fully focused and give our best every single day. The belief in Tadej and the strength of our team gives us the drive to aim high and push for this monumental achievement.

As a kid growing up watching cycling, the Tour de France is the pinnacle – it’s the biggest race and it rightly gets the most attention. To say I’m excited is an understatement. This will be my first Tour and I can’t wait to experience it first-hand.

We’ve done reckons of some of the mountain stages and there are definitely some challenging days ahead. Right from the start in Italy, on Stage 1, we’ll be right into the General Classification battle. Teamwork will be absolutely crucial, especially with the level of competition expected this year.

From a personal standpoint, I see my role being one of the last guys in the mountains, when it’s really hard, supporting Tadej and ensuring we stay in contention.

It’s about working together, staying focused, and executing our strategy perfectly. I’m ready to give my all for the team.

Of course, the Tour is my main focus for now, but the World Championships and Olympics are on the horizon and are both big goals for me.

They’re major events that every cyclist loves to compete in. The chance to represent my country at the Olympics is a huge honour. Each race presents its own challenges and opportunities, so I’m eager to continue to compete at the highest level all season long.

The support of our fans all around the world means everything to us. We are immensely proud to represent the UAE on the world stage. The success of our team is largely down to the amazing support we receive from our fans and sponsors back in the UAE. We can’t wait to see you all very soon and will keep pushing to make you proud!

Updated: June 08, 2024, 10:17 AM