Almeida and Thomas reawaken the Giro sul Bondone. Chances and strategies -

Almeida and Thomas reawaken the Giro sul Bondone.  Chances and strategies -

Of Gaia Piccardi, sent to Monte Bondone

Joao Almeida won the stage and is a candidate for third wheel, Geraint Thomas is back in the squad: «I don't attack for your entertainment». Roglic goes into crisis

There is no blizzard of Charlie Gaul ('56) nor the epic of the man taken to the limit by the elements, but on the Bondone the patience of the suiveurs is rewarded when the aussie Jay Vinefrom the Australian coral reef with fury, decides to change gears to the race, shattering the fragile crystal of the best group.

Once the escape started as expected (it won't arrive), behind the red (Geraint Thomas), the yellow (Primoz Roglic), the white (Joao Almeida) and the pink by chance (Bruno Armirail) rise steadily, with half a mind to freeze the status quo in view of the Dolomites.

The acceleration of Vine, who is already working under the radar for Captain Joao, is the fuse: Caruso gives in immediately (at +2'50" from the top of the standings, optimism is needed to consider him in the poker of the favorites), Thomas, who had sent Swift in the breakaway to act as a bridgehead but lost Sivakov along the way (128 riders left in the race out of 176), he remains alone, Roglic has lieutenant Kuss next to him. And then there's him Joao Pedro Gonçalves Almeida da Caldas da Rainha, Portuguese Extremadura, 15 stages in pink in the Pandemic and October 2020 Giro, the sparrowhawk mustache left to grow for fun («We were on retreat in Sierra Nevada, we were bored...»). An elegant runner, a moderate admiration for the pagan god Cristiano Ronaldo, he is the third wheel who, while Armirail sticks out his tongue and drifts, invents a shot in slow motion, almost a feint in motion. Roglic, pulled by Kuss, deludes himself that the ambitions of the Portuguese are kept on a leash by the follower, instead the asphalt widens, the hole becomes a tear; the first to guess that this is the right train to get on is Thomas, who forms an alliance with Almeida up to the finish line. Stop at Joao, knit at Mr. G, as nature creates.

«When I realized that Roglic wasn't at the top, I tried to accelerate to solicit a reaction from the Jumbos – explains Thomas who has returned to wearing the color of command -, they didn't change pace and so I went up with Almeida». I'm not attacking for your amusement, the Welshman had specified on the rest day: I attacked for his. «We have two days ahead of us on the highest mountains of the Giro, we'll play everything in 24 hours. This is a more unpredictable race than the Tour, roads and weather make the difference. The team is doing well and the pink jersey gives morale. I'm really motivated» admits Mr. G, awarded by Urbano Cairo, president of Rcs MediaGroup («After so much rain, a good run: Monte Bondone was the prologue to a super competitive week. Almeida can see it well, the race is very open").

At the top, Roglic's delay will be 25": in half a minute now there are three of them and the one who has the prettiest face is the boy who would like to displease the veterans. «The first victory in the Giro is an injection for my confidence». He celebrated by watering the white rice with ketchup, Joao. Nobody's perfect.

May 24, 2023 (change May 24, 2023 | 07:03)

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