Angry Almeida accuses INEOS of opening gaps in GC sprint on Stage 15

Third overall Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) was frustrated following Stage 15 of the Giro d'Italia, after he was convinced Pavel Sivakov (INEOS Grenadiers) had intentionally braked on the final sprint to let teammate Richard Carapaz gain an extra few seconds on his lead.

105th Giro d'Italia 2022 - Stage 15

João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) takes the podium as the holder of the best young rider jersey after Stage 15 of the 2022 Giro d'Italia. Source: Getty / Tim de Waele/Getty Images

Almeida and Carapaz's group rode conservatively on the day to prevent any significant changes to the time gaps and finished behind stage winner Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo).

Coming into the day 30 seconds behind the Ecuadorian, Almeida was caught behind Sivakov on the dash to the line in Cogne as Carapaz sprinted ahead of him and gained what the Portugese thought to be an extra two seconds in the general classification.
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The initial two-second gap in results was later confirmed to be less than one second, so all finishers in that group received the same time on the day and the gaps remained the same as the previous stage.

But this was unbeknownst to a visibly angry Almeida, who sought an explanation from Carapaz as the riders came together after the finish, seen also having a word with second overall Jai Hindley (BORA-Hansgrohe) about the incident.

Hindley seemed unbothered by the exchange between himself and Almeida, joking that, “We were just telling each other how much we like each other’s company."

Almeida was less calm however, firm in his assessment that even a couple of seconds could be the decisive factor in the winner of the race.

"It was just a tactical thing," he told Cyclingnews of the incident with Sivakov.

"I was on the wheel and his teammate was braking, that’s why I took the gap.
“It was two seconds and that’s something, but in the end there’s nothing I could do about it. It is what it is.”

While Almeida couldn't make any decisive inroads into the lead throughout the stage with INEOS controlling the conservative GC group, he acknowledged there was still a week of racing left to continue the challenge.

“I think everyone was a little tired after yesterday. It was a small group at the finish but it was a good day out there,” Almeida explained.

“We wanted to accelerated on the second climb if I felt good. I was okay but my teammates were struggling a little bit, so we decided to take it steady.

"There was still the final climb and there are still many more climbs coming next week.”

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2 min read
Published 23 May 2022 at 9:56am, updated 23 May 2022 at 10:07am
By SBS Sport
Source: SBS