João Almeida - The portuguese wolf

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I think steep gradients kinda help him in a way. Once it's steep enough/slow enough that drafting doesn't really matter his way of pacing himself becomes a lot more efficient that following every acceleration and buring yourself out that way. He did ride a pretty good Giau ascent (anothr steep climb) last year after being in the breakaway.
Probably a bit true. Makes sense for Sega di Ala too. Yates was reverse yoyoing a lot there.

Still I'm not super high on Almeida as a pure W/kg climber. His 3rd week of last year gets mentioned a lot but on the hardest Spluga he also dropped somewhat handily. And what's coming can be pretty pure W/kg.
 
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Could it be that his decending today was so bad because of fatigue? If you chased the whole race, you'll lose concentration for the descend and they were going hard downhill just when he had to recover from those efforts. Never seen him do it this horrendous.
 
Could it be that his decending today was so bad because of fatigue? If you chased the whole race, you'll lose concentration for the descend and they were going hard downhill just when he had to recover from those efforts. Never seen him do it this horrendous.
Can't be absolutely sure about it but starting to believe that he has a big big problem with his descending skills! In today stage he lost more time descending than climbing, closing the gaps while climbing and losing time while descending !!
I'm pretty sure that he was better descending in 2020!
 
I've now watched the stage finally. His descending is the same as in Emilia and Torrino last year where he was second vs third after Roglic and Adam Yates. It looked exactly the same; dropped on the descents and back at the climbs.

But I see another thing that I have thought about previously as well. He struggles with flat finishes that has turns, twists etc just as he struggles with descending.

Also his team did really leave him alone for too long today again when Covi was in the break.
 
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His positioning and descending are truly awful. UAE will need to always have somebody in the break to assist him in case anything goes wrong.

Even if he performs at 2021 level in the third week he could lose a chance to win the Giro on a techcnical, wet descent.
True! Bilbao and/or Nibali will make him drop out the front group in stage 16!
 
I've now watched the stage finally. His descending is the same as in Emilia and Torrino last year where he was second vs third after Roglic and Adam Yates. It looked exactly the same; dropped on the descents and back at the climbs.

But I see another thing that I have thought about previously as well. He struggles with flat finishes that has turns, twists etc just as he struggles with descending.

Also his team did really leave him alone for too long today again when Covi was in the break.
Agree. UAE should have called Covi from the break 5 minutes earlier! To many mistakes in UAE tactics atm. At Catalunya we also saw some tactical mistakes that cost IMO Almeida GC victory, but to be fair we also saw the same lacking of descending skills being uncapable of following Ayuso on that final descent (despite the bad Ayuso behaviour playing the role of a domestique)
 
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The team didn't leave him alone. The only reason he's always on Rui Costa's wheel is because Rui is constantly looking over his shoulder to look for him. Covi, Ulissi and Formolo are not babysiting him like the other portuguese guys on the team are.

Almeida needs to position himself and STAY with his collegues. Instead he goes to the back of the peloton/group. If you rewatch Blockhaus you can see this clearly. He was with Costa, Costa finishes his pull and then Almeida goes to back of the group instead of staying with Formolo.

Today the same thing happend. Before Bora started their work Almeida was nowhere near his collegues.
 
The team didn't leave him alone. The only reason he's always on Rui Costa's wheel is because Rui is constantly looking over his shoulder to look for him. Covi, Ulissi and Formolo are not babysiting him like the other portuguese guys on the team are.

Almeida needs to position himself and STAY with his collegues. Instead he goes to the back of the peloton/group. If you rewatch Blockhaus you can see this clearly. He was with Costa, Costa finishes his pull and then Almeida goes to back of the group instead of staying with Formolo.

Today the same thing happend. Before Bora started their work Almeida was nowhere near his collegues.
100% with you on that! Already said it many times that he needs to improve his positioning, to often he's caught by not being where he should be! He's still young and has a lot to learn from Rui Costa regarding that. Pretty sure that he will improve with time, not so sure about his descending.
Still i really think that UAE should have called Covi earlier from the break.
 
100% with you on that! Already said it many times that he needs to improve his positioning, to often he's caught by not being where he should be! He's still young and has a lot to learn from Rui Costa regarding that. Pretty sure that he will improve with time, not so sure about his descending.
Still i really think that UAE should have called Covi earlier from the break.
Yes two things can be simultaneously true.

But now they have the leader they have; who has the easiest time adapting? Almeida or the rest of the team? We can easily sit here and say they have to be better at this or that (we don't even know if he can improve it enough). But imo it's far more easy to not go into a breakaway than it is learning to be good at positioning :D
 
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I've now watched the stage finally. His descending is the same as in Emilia and Torrino last year where he was second vs third after Roglic and Adam Yates. It looked exactly the same; dropped on the descents and back at the climbs.

But I see another thing that I have thought about previously as well. He struggles with flat finishes that has turns, twists etc just as he struggles with descending.

Also his team did really leave him alone for too long today again when Covi was in the break.
Having Covi in the break kinda saved him today though. He dropped back after Bora split the group and helped him in the chase.

I reckon this will be the best strategy for UAE going forward since none of Almeida's teammate is a top20 climber here. If he gets isolated he's in danger. Better to have someone ahead.

Honestly I fear today will be game over for his GC ambitions. He didn't look that bad going downhill in 2020/21 but now he's terrible.
 
In 2020 we never noticed his position issues because Quickstep had a team at the Giro who were all used to sprint trains and classics and keeping leaders like Alaphilippe and Bennett and Jungels near the front of races and out of trouble.
In 2021, the resources were split between Almeida and Remco. So at first sign of trouble, Almeida’s support was missing or with the other guy.

Now at UAE the sprint train is not in their DNA, the guys aren’t so used to keeping the boss up front.
 
Just rewatched the stage and I think the team was actually ok.
At the beginning of the Parco del Nobile wall Formolo and Ulissi are in the Bora group, Almeida isn't. Then Ulissi and Formolo drop back to help him.
At the first passage on the finish line there have been other splits but the Almeida group pulled by Ulissi is very close to the Bora group (10" max), while Valverde is almost one minute behind.
Then with 70 to go Covi drops back and further helps him close the gap at the start of Superga (even if Almeida for some reason keeps losing the wheel).
Halfway through Superga he's alone and starts yoyoing 15 meters behind the front group.
 
as GT rider. you need the capabilities to be able to descend and position properly. Almeida is talented in climbing and time trialling. but I do worry how Almeida can compete for a big round blessing. other teams will take advantage of his weakness. when I look at the team, Ayuso is a rider who is great in descending and positioning. he is an up and coming man for grand tours this could become a problem for almeida.
 
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as GT rider. you need the capabilities to be able to descend and position properly. Almeida is talented in climbing and time trialling. but I do worry how Almeida can compete for a big round blessing. other teams will take advantage of his weakness. when I look at the team, Ayuso is a rider who is great in descending and positioning. he is an up and coming man for grand tours this could become a problem for almeida.
Almeida will be fine: they just have to make Pogacar his domestique.
 
He is a really funny rider to watch. Really strong diesel climber, who can actually can win sprints after hard days (really weird because he gets dropped on every serious attack) but is one of the worst descenders in the peloton. Good for the race.
Looking at the last TT I am not even sure if he can claw back so much time. Its 4km flat with a lot of corners, then a 4km 5,4 % climb and a really technical descent with only 2 flat km to the finish. He shouldn't loose a lot of more time to Hindley and Carapaz.
 
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By the way in Paris Nice did he get dropped from the main peloton/chasing group on the final Col d'Eze descent?
He was ahead of the main peleton but still almost three minutes back from winning Yates. Finished in the third group with Steff Crass. If he was dropped it was from the leading group, but I don't remember he was ever in it. He wasn't filmed on the last descent though as they looped Yates, Rogla and Van Aert finish again and again.
 
He was ahead of the main peleton but still almost three minutes back from winning Yates. Finished in the third group with Steff Crass. If he was dropped it was from the leading group, but I don't remember he was ever in it. He wasn't filmed on the last descent though as they looped Yates, Rogla and Van Aert finish again and again.
No I mean the main chasing group with most of the GC contenders bar WvA, Yates and Roglic. Almeida finished in a 2 man group 30s behind that.
 
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IMO he always showed that he was a bad descender and with an handicap at positioning. Both can be for sure worked with UAE. He has all the other qualities that a GC contender needs to succeed. May he improve on those 2 flaws and he will be a force to be reckoned with in the next years.
 
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