Having lost the leader's pink jersey to Jai Hindley, he no longer faced the long podium protocol or had to immediately explain to the media what had happened on the final two kilometres of the stage, when he cracked under the Australian's attack.
Carapaz eventually returned to the finish area for anti-doping but, again, defeat on the final mountain finish of the Giro left him too disappointed to speak.
Ineos Grenadiers had ridden a near-perfect race but second overall in Verona after Sunday's final time trial will be of little consolation. They were targeting a third consecutive Giro title and rode superbly as a team all race but, as the different riders finished the stage and discovered Carapaz had lost the maglia rosa, everyone was disappointed.
"That’s bike racing. Richie is a fighter and I’m sure that he gave it his best shot. We tried, we gave it a good go. It’s just how it is," Ben Swift told Cyclingnews after again working hard as long as he could in the mountains for Carapaz.
"It’s been a strange Giro. A lot of the finishes have not been hill-top finishes, whereas today was just a straight shoot-out, mano-a-mano. It’s interesting that it came down the to the final climb. There’s nothing else to say but ‘Chapeau Jai'."
Pavel Sivakov again did a big final turn on the steepest slopes of the Marmolada, taking over from Bahrain Victorious and setting up Carapaz for the final fight to the line. He was shocked to realise Hindley had surged away and also sportingly accepted defeat.
"It’s difficult to know what to say. We really tried everything, that’s it. That’s sport. Congratulations to Jai," he said.
"I actually thought we dealt with the day well. We really wanted to get rid of Jai, we knew that the altitude would help Richard. But I suppose we just have to accept the result."
20-year-old Grand Tour debutant Ben Tulett again rode strongly on the final mountain stage, doing a vital turn when Ineos Grenadiers took control of the race.
Tulett emotionally hugged the Ineos Grenadiers soigneur who helped him wrap-up against the cold at the summit finish and sent him down the road to the team bus.
"You can only do what you can do. We’ll all proud of him, whatever the result," Tulett told Cyclingnews.
"It was a very hard stage after 20 days of racing. We tried our best, that’s all we can do. We can be proud of how we performed. We all gave 100%. Richie is so inspiring and we went down fighting."
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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.