Tour of Italy. On the Bondone Joao Almeida found the money to make the lira
The Portuguese won the sixteenth stage of the Giro ahead of Geraint Thomas who is back in the pink jersey. Bruno Armirail has lost it with grace and elegance as she has always dressed it. In slight difficulty Primoz Roglic
João Almeida he was the one who attacked behind the strongest and didn't give up a metre, one harder to kill than Bruce Willis in Die Hard, to quote J Ax. João Almeida, it was said, lacked a penny to make a lira. Maybe that penny was just a little time. Because João Almeida hasn't changed, he's the same as always: a fighter who goes fast uphill and in the time trial, who rather than give up even takes his soul off his shoulders: he demonstrated this at the 2020 Giro, in which he wore the pink jersey for 15 days; he had repeated it over the next two years. He did it today too on the road that leads to the top of the Monte Bondone. First a few meters ahead of the small group of those who dream of wearing pink pulled by Sepp Kuss. Then behind Geraint Thomas, with his usual face, that hard-working dog grin of his. He had tried to keep everyone off pace, as they used to do in the past. It went badly for him. He caught his breath. He got up on the pedals and attacked. He wanted to arrive alone, he had to settle for having the Welsh behind him. A little bad. The important thing is to win, he finally succeeded. João Almeida won the sixteenth stage of the 2023 Giro d'Italia, the first in the pink race, in a three-week tour. Doing it on top of Bondone is even better. Monte Bondone is not just any place, everyone remembers it Bondone by Charly Gaulthat cycling massacre made of snow, cold and atmospheric extremism.
After the finish, after the fatigue and the disappointment of the lost sprint, Geraint Thomas was also happy. He put the pink jersey back on and put twenty-five seconds between him and Primoz Roglic. The highest podium of the Giro d'Italia should have been raced between the two of them after the abandonment of Remco Evenepoel. He risks not being like that. Because João Almeida isn't one to give up easily, he's never done it, let alone if he does now that he feels his leg is good even to escape from the others.
Primoz Roglic instead had to chase. She wanted to attack, make it clear that this time it was her turn. He found himself detached, forced to cling to Sepp Kuss' wheel as one clings to a prayer at a bad moment. On days like this, the American is an excellent prayer, someone who is good, better, to have by your side. All in all, it didn't go too badly for the Slovenian. He has a bad day every year, every three-week run. Then, if he doesn't feel the irresistible attraction of the asphalt, things get better. Whether this was a bad day cannot be said.
It certainly got worse Bruno Armirail. The Frenchman saw the pink of his jersey fade kilometer after kilometer from minus ten at the finish line. He didn't believe that he would arrive in Rome as leader, but hope is always irrational and to remove it completely would mean no longer having love for cycling. He fought, he defended himself as best he could, he defended it with grace and elegance, just as he has always worn it. He arrived at the finish line 4'24” late, however before many presumed runners from very high positions. He is still among the ten, just as Andreas Leknessund is still among the ten. And neither of them wants to disappear.
Geraint Thomas is now 18 seconds ahead of João Almeida, 29 over Primoz Roglic. The others are further back: Damiano Caruso is at 2'50”, Eddy Dunbar at 3'03”.
The Irish are strong this year. After a lifetime of being a follower at Ineos fu Sky, he set up on his own and doing things for him and not for others seems to suit him just as well. Twenty-six is a good age to discover this, it is also a good age to say that a good opportunity is worth pursuing to the point of risking losing it.