UAE Team Emirates remain upbeat despite first sign of weakness from Joao Almeida: "He didn't lose that much to his two competitors"

After his heroics on the 16th stage of the Giro d'Italia, Joao Almeida was brought back down to earth with a bump as he lost time to both Primoz Roglic and the Maglia Rosa, Geraint Thomas on stage 18.

Nevertheless, if it wasn't for a brilliant effort by Jay Vine it could have been worse. UAE Team Emirates boss Mauro Gianetti is choosing to remain upbeat. "João had a bit more trouble today. He didn't have a top feeling, but he didn't lose that much to his two competitors," he told Eurosport post-stage. “He told me after the ride that he didn't feel great from the start. Good, but not great."

“But the goal is still to get on the podium. We're not there yet. It is also Thomas and Roglic that he competes against, two real top riders,” he continues. “Tomorrow I expect a lot, it promises to be a wonderful spectacle. Roglič wants to make up some of his backlog, Thomas wants to finish ahead of the time trial and João of course wants to get closer. That will definitely be a good fight.”

Almeida has now dropped to third in the general classification but at just 39 seconds down on Geraint Thomas it is still all to play for.

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