João Almeida takes pivotal victory on stage two of the Tour of Poland 2021

The Portuguese rider claims his first ever WorldTour victory

João Almeida wins stage two of the Tour of Poland
(Image credit: Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images)

João Almeida put in a huge ride on stage two of the Tour of Poland 2021, taking his second career win on a brutal uphill finish.

The punchy stage came down to an uphill sprint from a reduced bunch, with Almeida going early on the steep ascent to the line.

Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) was able to make the late bridge across the Almeida (Deceuninck - Quick-Step), but was out-sprinted at the line by the Portuguese rider. 

After race leader Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious) was dropped earlier in the stage, Almeida also moved into the top spot on general classification. 

How it happened 

The second stage of the 2021 Tour of Poland was another day set for a punchy finish, after 200km from Zamość to Przemyśl.

The decisive moments on the course came in the final 40km, with three climbs in quick succession, two of which were second category (2.1km at 9.2 per cent, then 31.km at 5.9 per cent).

After a flat 20km run towards the finish, the road then ramped up again in a sharp 1.5km-long, eight per cent average gradient dash to the line.  

Early in the stage, a five-rider group was able to get the gap on the peloton in the opening 20km to establish the day’s breakaway.

Britain’s Gabriel Cullaigh (Movistar), Nikita Stalnov (Astana-Premier Tech), Patrick Stosz (Polish national team), Taco van der Hoorn (Intermaché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), and Sebastian Langeveld (EF Education-Nippo) were the riders to break free of the bunch, pulling out a four-minute advantage at the maximum before the peloton began to reel them in, led by Bahrain Victorious. 

Inside the final 100km, there was an attack in the bunch by three riders, as Ryan Mullen (Trek-Segafredo), Manuele Boaro (Astana-Premier Tech) and Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) bridged across to the leading group. 

Into the final 30km and race leader Phil Bauhaus was dropped from the bunch, as the break surged towards the finish. 

But a flurry of attacks in the final 20km reeled back the escapees and with 10km to finish the reduced bunch was all together, heading for a fast finish on the final climb.  

UAE Team Emirates, Lotto-Soudal and Israel Start-Up Nation were all motivated, but onto the climb it was Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious) who attacked, followed by Tim Wellens and João Almeida.

Into the final kilometre and Almeida attacked alone and pulled out a strong advantage on the surging bunch, setting up a slow-motion chase.

With 500m to the line Almeida was still giving his all, as attacks came from the peloton but riders struggled to close down the Deceuninck rider. 

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Diego Ulissi attacked from the chasing group and bridged across to Almeida, the pair going wheel-to-wheel in the final 300m, but Almeida kicked again out of the saddle and led into the final turn on the seemingly endless climb. 

Ulissi sprinted with 100m to the line but Almeida matched his pace and rolled across at the line to win the stage and move into the race lead. 

Tour of Poland 2021, stage two: Zamość to Przemyśl (200.8km)

1. João Almedia (Por) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, in 4-41-33
2. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
3. Matej Mohorič (Slo) Bahrain Victorious, all at same time
4. Michał Kwiatkowski (Pol) Ineos Grenadiers, at 4s
5. Mikkel Honoré (Den) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, at 8s
6. Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), at 12s
7. Jai Hindley (Aus) Team DSM
8. Giovanni Aleotti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
9. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain Victorious, all at same time
10. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, at 16s 

General classification after stage two 

1. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, in 9-42-47
2. Matej Mohorič (Slo) Bahrain Victorious, at 4s
3. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, at same time
4. Michał Kwiatkowski (Pol) Ineos Grenadiers, at 11s
5. Mikkel Honoré (Den) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, at 18s
6. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain Victorious, at 22s
7. Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert-Matériaux,
8. Jai Hindley (Aus) Team DSM)
9. Giovanni Aleotti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe, all at same time
10. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, at 26s 

Alex Ballinger
Alex Ballinger

Alex is the digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.

Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. 

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