News | Team May 5, 2022

Giro D’Italia – Through The Eyes Of Joao Almeida

As the start line of Stage 1 for the 2022 Giro D’Italia draws ever closer, the excitement and anticipation in the UAE Team Emirates Camp is ramping up by the day. 3,445km await my teammates and I across 21 stages, ranging from Time Trials, flat stages, and mountainous stages that are as challenging as anywhere else in the world. The Giro D’Italia is one of the three Grand Tours – alongside the Tour De France and Vuelta Espana – so for a cyclist it’s a very prestigious event. The calibre of rider at this race is of the highest standard. World class riders earmark this event as their most important on the calendar each year, so you have to be at the very top of your game to get a good result.


The Giro itself is so special as the Italian people and Italy as a nation are cycling mad. Their passion and enthusiasm really rubs off on the riders and members of the team, further increasing our determination to produce the best result that we possibly can.

Having competed in the last two Giro D’Italia’s, it is a race that is incredibly important to me and one that I have thus far performed very well in. The time of year the race falls in seems to suit me, as it allows me to tailor my preparation perfectly and build up to the start line. Back in 2020, I was fortunate enough to be able to wear the Pink Jersey for a few days as the race leader. I can still remember the feeling of being on the saddle hearing the crowd chanting my name. It was arguably the most incredible moment I’ve had in cycling, so I am determined to recreate this experience and take a big result for UAE Team Emirates!


Heading into this year’s race, I have been able to train hard and prepare for all of the different challenges this Grand Tour event throws at us. Over the last 3 weeks I’ve been training at altitude in Sierra Nevada, Spain. In longer races such as the Giro, altitude training is the most beneficial form of training to ensure I’m in the best physical position to perform to my best across the three weeks.


After 2 years without fans in attendance, I am super excited about the opportunity to perform in front of the Italian fans and Cycling world. Despite the race covering 21 stages, I feel there are certain stages that will suit me more than others, so my preparation from a tactical perspective can be just important as physically preparing in trying to achieve numerous stage wins and holding the illustrious Pink jersey.


Our UAE Team Emirates Sports Directors have spent countless hours analysing different stages. They have an enormous scope of expertise and are able to break down the key points of each stage to ensure we are best prepared. We spend time each morning as a team going through PowerPoint presentations prepared by the Directors on the Team Bus with crucial information about each stage. Without such a dedicated and high-quality coaching team and performance staff, there is no chance we would be able to produce the results in the saddle that we have been in recent weeks and months.


As we roll into Budapest for the start of the Giro D’Italia, the mood in the camp is extremely upbeat and positive. Having spent time as a group in Sierra Nevada training together, our team spirit is very strong, and we feel very confident that we can all contribute to the best possible result for UAE Team Emirates. Contrary to what many believe, Cycling is certainly a team sport, whereby teamwork and putting the interests of the team above your own are paramount to winning races. It is simply impossible to succeed in Cycling without unity and togetherness between riders. Luckily, here at UAE Team Emirates, our group is full of great guys and amazing people.


Given that the team has never won this Grand Tour before, it would be incredibly special to pull off a big result or even step on the podium. However, I never allow myself to get too carried away and try to stay in the moment. Just like in life – I’ll take the race day by day! Thank you so much to the Emirati people for your support. Our team goal is to represent the people of the UAE as best we can on the International stage!