João Almeida joins UAE Team Emirates on long-term contract

The Portuguese rider has signed a massive five-year deal

João Almeida at the 2021 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Getty Images)

João Almeida has been confirmed to be joining UAE Team Emirates from 2022 on a huge five-year deal.

The Portuguese rider was reported to be leaving the Belgian team of Deceuninck - Quick-Step after team boss Patrick Lefevere said his manager showed "relatively little respect in the negotiations." Meaning Almeida will be joining double Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar.

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Almeida showed his excitement to join the team in a press release: "I am really looking forward to this new chapter in my career and in my life.

"I feel like the move to UAE Team Emirates is coming at the right time and I’m sure I will be happy on this new adventure. The team is growing every year and I can’t wait to be a part of it.

"I am quite a thoughtful person by nature and I find myself already dreaming and visualising about the future and I’m super excited about it."

The 23-year-old Almeida has managed a top-10 result in five of the 10 races he has attended this season, with a win at the Portuguese time trial championships and a top-six in the Giro d'Italia after looking exceptionally strong in the final week.

In the 2020 Giro won by Ineos Grenadiers rider, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Almeida held the pink jersey for 15 days but lost it in the closing few stages.

UAE Team Emirates manager, Joxean Matxin Fernandez said: "Almeida is a rider we’ve known for many years since he was a junior and we are delighted to welcome him to UAE Team Emirates. 

"João is a cyclist of great quality and we have no doubt that he will be a strong pillar in the team. He’s a hugely talented and versatile rider and I’m sure we’ll enjoy many great successes together with him in our squad. Our aim is to strengthen the team year-by-year and we have full confidence that João will bring great things to the group, both as an athlete and as a person."

Almeida could lead in the Grand Tours that Pogačar does not ride, but could also act as super-domestique for the Slovenian and a possible second option in the GC at the Tour. 

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