Five time Olympic gold medalist Bradley Wiggins tipped his hat to men’s road race winner Richard Carapaz after the rider from Ecuador stormed to victory on Saturday in the Tokyo Olympic Games men’s road race.
Carapaz attacked with 25 kilometres to go alongside Brandon McNulty before distancing the American with 5.8 kilometres to go and sealing the biggest one-day win of his entire career. Wout Van Aert (Belgium) and Tadej Pogačar (Slovenia) completed the podium.
Speaking on discovery+ and Eurosport, the 2012 Tour de France winner praised Carapaz’s efforts in a pulsating finale that was dominated by strength, tactics and a lack of race radios.
"I think it goes down as one of his biggest wins, in his home nation jersey of Ecuador," said Wiggins. "To win like that … I was watching the last 25km with a close eye, he was so strong in that final. The only other one who was as strong was Wout van Aert but the whole world was watching Wout van Aert, and everyone in that breakaway!
"But Richard Carapaz, it came back to 16 seconds at one point, he then attacked Brandon McNulty just on the edge of the circuit here. He won by nearly a minute! The guy was phenomenal today and it shows you who’s backed up after the Tour de France here today. That was a group packed full of superstars,” Wiggins said.
The race was battle of attrition with heat and humidity playing a major role in the outcome of the race.
“It was like a junior race that final 25 or 30km, every man for himself," said Wiggins. "Very few nations were represented with two riders in there. It was man against man. The field was absolutely decimated. It just shows you how severe it was. I’m looking down, there’s guys on the floor, it’s been a severe road course.”
“Tadej [Pogačar] was the one who started the action on that climb let’s not forget. He put it out there. Van Aert got dropped on the climb but came back towards the top. There was always something happening, always some action. But Pogačar nearly rolled van Aert for the silver medal on the line there which shows the legs he still had in the final. Hats off to all of them, it was a fantastic race and special shout out to Britain’s Adam Yates who was in there."
Yates finished in ninth place, coming in as part of the group who was sprinting for silver.
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