I agree that Hodeg has done nothing to earn his shot. But very recently Lefevere was saying he had been promised this Giro as sprinter.
Ballerini had great early season form and then that ebbed away. But he’s had a month off and looked strong in the leadout for Bennett today. Surely he’s worth a go in his home GT and he’s a capable domestique for the other stages too. Cavendish is Cavendish, win or lose he will bring big sponsor attention and as the sprinter with the second most wins this year (lol) he might get a stage or two.
If Evenepoel had been smashing prep races and was going in as a huge favourite for pink, fine, give him the full eight man team. But it’s his first race back from injury and they are nominally putting Almeida in the top leaders role with Remco as co-leader. If they don’t think that they are actually going to win GC, I don’t see what they gain by taking a sixth full time domestique rather than five and one free lancing sprinter.
Maybe one more aspect is that they are showing Almeida and other possible GC riders / domestiques they are serious about this and that they can offer the support. Otherwise such riders might think they are better off at a true GC team.
About Almeida... I don't know if this is any close to truth, but on the front page they say Almeida is offered 3millions per year by other teams... looks like they are rating him pretty high...