João Almeida - The portuguese wolf

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Regarding bonus seconds. This might have been a short term strategy to try and get the pink jersey. Both had the option of going for pink, but Almeida might have said he wanted to avoid the additional stress of interviews, podium ceremonies etc. Also, since Almeida already has so many pink jerseys it would mean less to him. Finally, Almeida might have been more confident that he would either remain high on GC or get a stage win, whereas Remco might have wanted to get something in the bank in case things go south later in the race.
 
After all the soap opera in the next few minutes between them and Deceunicks car João finaly starts to pull Remco untill the finish line and it's only fair to emphasize that he did and amazing job doing it and saving remcos hopes of get a Top3 at this Giro. Was he the best domestique? No he wasn't! Did he obey the orders when sent? Yes he did!
That's pretty much it.

Almeida did an amazing job for Remco, no doubt about that. But he did not ride as a domestique and didn't care about Remco until he was told to.

Should he have? Probably. Why didn't he? Because people are people I guess ... and all we can do is guess how Almeida was feeling about this situation. A little bit of frustration here, some frustration there, the urge to prove to himself, the fans and his new team how good he really is. Who knows.
 
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That's pretty much it.

Almeida did an amazing job for Remco, no doubt about that. But he did not ride as a domestique and didn't care about Remco until he was told to.

Should he have? Probably. Why didn't he? Because people are people I guess ... and all we can do is guess how Almeida was feeling about this situation. A little bit of frustration here, some frustration there, the urge to prove to himself, the fans and his new team how good he really is. Who knows.
yes indeed, we are speculating a lot in the last few days about Deceunicks, Remco and João... but I share your thoughts in this one, João was thinking about himself it that day, which surprised me because untill then he was always besides Remco.
Unfortunately Fausto Masnada had a bad day also, if not probably his job would be to stay besides Remco so João could have the freedom to go for the stage with the other GC riders... The only thing that is beyond discussion is that Remco shouldn’t be left alone at those sterrato sections and that João role on the team since day 1 was very poorly managed by DQ.
ATM I think that João has to much potential to be only a good domestique so it’s better for him to leave Lefevere’s team.
 
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yes indeed, we are speculating a lot in the last few days about Deceunicks, Remco and João... but I share your thoughts in this one, João was thinking about himself it that day, which surprised me because untill then he was always besides Remco.
Unfortunately Fausto Masnada had a bad day also, if not probably his job would be to stay besides Remco so João could have the freedom to go for the stage with the other GC riders... The only thing that is beyond discussion is that Remco shouldn’t be left alone at those sterrato sections and that João role on the team since day 1 was very poorly managed by DQ.
ATM I think that João has to much potential to be only a good domestique so it’s better for him to leave Lefevere’s team.
I thought Serry, who has gone reasonably well in several Strade, was going to be a chaperone but they burnt him up chasing after the first section. Doh.
The team car really did not have the best of days.
Also it's been 4 or 5 years since Quickstep have won a stage at the Giro, which given their record, is quite a staggering stat.
 
yes indeed, we are speculating a lot in the last few days about Deceunicks, Remco and João... but I share your thoughts in this one, João was thinking about himself it that day, which surprised me because untill then he was always besides Remco.
Unfortunately Fausto Masnada had a bad day also, if not probably his job would be to stay besides Remco so João could have the freedom to go for the stage with the other GC riders... The only thing that is beyond discussion is that Remco shouldn’t be left alone at those sterrato sections and that João role on the team since day 1 was very poorly managed by DQ.
ATM I think that João has to much potential to be only a good domestique so it’s better for him to leave Lefevere’s team.
At this point he's burned all his bridges, so there is no way back, and obviously it's best for him at the moment to leave the team. But i do not agree that he should have left, or that it was in his best interest. Money talks and all that, but financial issues aside, Lefevere said last year, that even though the plan was to have him become a righthand man to Evenepoel, a luitenant or super domestique, that if he showed that he could grow into more, that it didn't have to be a fixed trajectory, and that he would/could get his chances to develop into a teamleader himself.

This was even before the 2020 Giro, iirc. And it would only make sense. Besides Remco, there is no other rider currently at the team to be a GC leader. I don't think Vansevenant or Bagioli will become GT GC guys. On the other hand, the team will need to invest a lot in climbing domestiques to support Remco anyway. It's all wasted when Remco is injured again, and even when fit, he can not competitively ride 3 GT's per year. With injuries and form that means there will always be climbing domestiques on stand-by/in reserve who would be wasted. So who will ride the remaining 1 or 2 GT's? When would those other guys get in the team? This was Almeida's spot to take. But by leaving, he will be giving that up. Where will he go? To Bora? Where there is already Buchmann, Schachmann (for 1 week GC), Kelderman, Hindley (reportedly moving) and in 2 or 3 years there will also be Uijtdebroeks. So other than the financial benefits, the situation for him will not necessarily improve. Buchmann is clearly the better climber and will be 1st choice for the big races he wants to ride. For the other races, there is also more direct competition than at DQT.
 
My tinfoil hat theory is that Bora offered such a massive salary in part to spite Lefevere. Because he made it very clear that he would not be selling Evenepoel to them and that the team as a whole could not be bought either.
 
My tinfoil hat theory is that Bora offered such a massive salary in part to spite Lefevere. Because he made it very clear that he would not be selling Evenepoel to them and that the team as a whole could not be bought either.
I doubt if Denk was particularly aggrieved at that, or expected otherwise. He may have been annoyed by Lefevere mouthing off to the media about their conversation. There’s a preexisting rivalry anyway, given that in 2018 QS were the top sprint team, then Bora in 2019, then QS again since, and Bora is also one of the teams with ambitions to displace QS in the classics.

But if Bora overpaid, I suspect that it had little to do with QS rivalry and is more about being willing to gamble on a rider turning out to be a big winner. Bora have loads of quality but no reliable big winners since Sagan started to slide.
 
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Denk said in a german podcast that Lefevere just wanted to put pressure on his sponsor. He used Denk for that. Of course Denk wanted to get Evenepoel under contract but Lefevere only offered him and then the whole team to Denk because he wanted to put pressure on his current sponsors. They met at an airport.
Denk is pissed about the behaviour of Lefevere because is just playing mind games.
Perhaps this backfires a bit now.
 
At this point he's burned all his bridges, so there is no way back, and obviously it's best for him at the moment to leave the team. But i do not agree that he should have left, or that it was in his best interest. Money talks and all that, but financial issues aside, Lefevere said last year, that even though the plan was to have him become a righthand man to Evenepoel, a luitenant or super domestique, that if he showed that he could grow into more, that it didn't have to be a fixed trajectory, and that he would/could get his chances to develop into a teamleader himself.

This was even before the 2020 Giro, iirc. And it would only make sense. Besides Remco, there is no other rider currently at the team to be a GC leader. I don't think Vansevenant or Bagioli will become GT GC guys. On the other hand, the team will need to invest a lot in climbing domestiques to support Remco anyway. It's all wasted when Remco is injured again, and even when fit, he can not competitively ride 3 GT's per year. With injuries and form that means there will always be climbing domestiques on stand-by/in reserve who would be wasted. So who will ride the remaining 1 or 2 GT's? When would those other guys get in the team? This was Almeida's spot to take. But by leaving, he will be giving that up. Where will he go? To Bora? Where there is already Buchmann, Schachmann (for 1 week GC), Kelderman, Hindley (reportedly moving) and in 2 or 3 years there will also be Uijtdebroeks. So other than the financial benefits, the situation for him will not necessarily improve. Buchmann is clearly the better climber and will be 1st choice for the big races he wants to ride. For the other races, there is also more direct competition than at DQT.
I don’t necessarily disagree with you, but there are some problems with this argument.

1. Remco has shown to be a massive talent. There’s no denying that, but has no record past one week. From Almeida’s perspective, why should everyone just be pushed aside for a guy who has never ridden or finished a GT? For all he knows, Remco could be Richie Porte- almost seemingly unbeatable in 1 week races, but a yearly catastrophe when leading a GT team. It’s more likely that Remco will be a great GC rider, but he hasn’t proven that yet, where Almeida probably feels like he’s already proven that he can at least compete in 3 week tours.

2. Lefevre doesn’t know how to manage a GT team. Any GT success they’ve had since the Pavel Tonkov era has been with riders who had to do it basically on their own or with minimal help. Mas and Uran were basically on their own in the mountains, and they had to compete with the other interests of the team. Nobody expected Alaphilippe to pull off what he did in 2019 in the high mountains.

I seem to distinctly remember Lefevre being quoted as saying that “if Mas wants to be paid and treated like a Top 5 Tour contender, then he should finish in the Top 5 of the TDF and then we’ll focus on him” or something along those lines.

That’s fine. However, Almeida was on the team then, and probably feels as though Remco is having everything handed to him due to his great success in such esteemed GC races as the Vuelta Burgos and the Tour of Poland.

Remco may end up in the Top 5 at this race, which is great, but regardless of the competition in last year’s event, Almeida probably feels like he deserved the support of the team going into this race. He never got that.

What does he think is going to happen when Remco rides the Tour next year? Alaphilippe is just going to lay down his own ambitions? He didn’t resign to be Remco’s water boy, and I’m pretty sure Lefevre told him whatever he wanted to hear to get him to sign on the dotted line.

So technically I agree with you that Almeida has handled the situation poorly, but I understand why he feels the way he does.
 
I don't get all the fuss. Almeida was 4th on the weakest Giro field in decades. IMHO he did not deserve full backing and has no right to complain (apart from Masnada who should have buried himself for Almeida on Stelvio last year). Remco ceiling is miles away from his.

It's the same situation as UAE with Pogacar and Aru. They were talking about Aru leading the team just to take pressure off Tadej.
 

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