Five months after the Giro, Almeida leads the Volta a Catalunya

Joao Almeida, during the time trial

Only four cyclists lost 23 minutes in the 18.3-kilometer time trial in Banyoles, two specialists – the winner, the Australian former world champion Rohan Dennis, a free soul who thus achieved his first victory with the Ineos jersey, a team in the who joyfully enjoys the work of a luxury gregarious, free from responsibilities, and the second classified, the terrible Rémi Cavagna, another great gregarious, nicknamed the TGV of Clermont Ferrand for his ability to be the fastest locomotive of the peloton, which drag your march for endless miles — and two 22-year-olds who poked their heads out last year and are settling in this 21st of all youths. One is desert American Brandon McNulty of Phoenix, Arizona, a lanky climber with a motor and power for time trials; the other, the Portuguese Joao Almeida, who was the pink jersey of the last Giro for a couple of weeks and who in the Volta a Catalunya is the new owner of the jersey with the three green stripes that distinguishes the leader.

In the general they are separated by 1s, and against them, against the first Portuguese leader in the Volta since 1974, since José Martins was, one of Agostinho’s generation who raced at Kas, Teka and Moliner, and against the North American who revealed himself to the world a couple of years ago, winning the Tour of Sicily at 20 (fourth on Etna, the greatest day of the philosopher Guillaume Martin), will rise in the Pyrenees, on Wednesday (Vallter 2000) and on Thursday (Port Ainé), the front formed by those of the intermediate generation who do not want to be erased from the map: Kruijswijk, Adam Yates, Porte …

Neither among the young people nor among the intermediate ones is there a Spaniard who can say anything. The leaders of Movistar, Mas and Soler, did not make the time trial of their lives, an indication that they are not in the necessary form to intervene in the debate. The best around Lake Banyoles were the specialist Castroviejo and the old Luis León, who threw the rest to try to get the lead after the escape from sight and stayed 3s from his goal. Marc Soler gave 39s to Almeida; Alejandro Valverde, who at age 40 maintains great regularity, 46s, and Enric Mas, 51s. None of the three entered the top 20 of the stage, and neither did any Andean cyclist, not Carapaz (who gave 52s to Almeida), nor Nairo (1m 7s).

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