THE BALL – João Almeida starts the race in pink (Cycling)

At 11:40 a.m. this Friday, Budapest kicks off the Vuelta a Italia 2022, a 195-kilometre course taking the 176 runners to Visegrád Castle and which will be the first of three in Hungary, with the first challenges on the transalpine soil only from Tuesday, in Avola, the winner being consecrated on the 29th.

Last winner Egan Bernal is not in the field as he is still recovering from a crash in training, but there are a handful of favorites for overall victory, starting with Portugal’s João Almeida, head of line for the United Arab Emirates. Team Emirates, which also takes Rui Costa and Rui Oliveira to support it, with Richard Carapaz (Ineos-Grenadier), 2019 winner, Simon Yates (BikeExchange), Romain Bardet (Team DSM) and Miguel Angel López (Astana) the biggest competition. In addition to other names of equal value, such as Mikel Landa, Hugh Carthy, Wilco Kelderman or Tom Dumoulin.

João Almeida affirms and reaffirms that only the places of honor interest him: “As team manager, my thoughts will be turned towards the fight for the first places. I have a good team, I feel confident, I have prepared well and we will, day after day, believe that we can achieve our objectives, as long as falls and misfortunes do not interfere with our work.

Whoever best tackles the 21 stages (and the 47 mountains counts!) awaits, in Verona, the city of Veneto immortalized by Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, the famous cornucopia of half a meter in 10 kilograms in gold-plated copper that symbolizes the course of the race: hard and winding even on the trophy.

Read it in full in the print edition or digital of A BALL.

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