Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck–QuickStep) ripped out his earpiece after being briefly abandoned by his team on Stage 11 at the Giro d’Italia.
The Belgian sensation, second in GC prior to the tricky journey across the white gravel of Tuscany, was distanced by a group containing many of his rivals as he struggled to handle the terrain.
The 21-year-old approached each corner cautiously, meaning he faced a series of short accelerations to latch back on. Eventually, he cracked.
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Incredibly, his teammate Joao Almeida was stationed in that select group but initially did nothing to rescue him.
“What on earth is he playing at? What on earth is Joao Almeida playing at?” said Rob Hatch on Eurosport commentary.
A visibly irate Evenepoel tore out his communication device as he pressed on alone, with Ineos Grenadiers driving on the pace as they sought to strengthen Egan Bernal’s grip on the maglia rosa.
“He’s not happy about something,” continued Hatch.
He’s absolutely angry about something. The earpiece has been ripped out.
“Something has happened in this team, either between directors-Evenepoel, Evenepoel-Almeida, Almeida-directors. Something is not right or hasn’t been right.”
Eventually, Almeida did drop back to help Evenepoel, but the pair did not appear to exchange pleasantries at the belated reunion.
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Contador: ‘It's shocking’
Eurosport and GCN expert Alberto Contador was left in doubt that it was a farce.
"I don't understand why Remco's team has not reacted,” he said before Almeida dropped back.
"Evenepoel is on the ropes in this Giro d'Italia and nobody has taken any decision to solve this problem.
To see Remco cycling absolutely alone and losing opportunities to the rest of the favourites is shocking.
Almeida arrived in Italy as co-leader with Evenepoel but leaked time in the first week as the Belgian was promoted to sole frontrunner for Deceuninck.
“If you’re not looking around, just be on the wheel of your leader,” said Dan Lloyd as he questioned Almeida’s positioning in the group.
“If you’re just behind them all the time then you’re going to know when they have a problem.
“You’re not going to look around every 20-30 seconds – he might have a puncture, he might have a mechanical and 20-30 seconds later it’s too late.”
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