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Carapaz defends himself against accusations of disloyalty by Movistar director

Tour Colombia 2020 3rd Edition 3rd stage Paipa Sogamoso 1777 km 13022020 Richard Carapaz ECU Team Ineos photo Dario BelingheriBettiniPhoto2020
Richard Carapaz (Team Ineos) at the Tour Colombia 2.1 earlier this year (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

2019 Giro d’Italia winner Richard Carapaz has defended himself against accusations by a Movistar sports director that he was "disloyal", saying that he suffered from a lack of trust in his former team.

After winning the Giro, Carapaz left Movistar at the end of last year in tumultuous circumstances after failing to take part, as expected, in the Vuelta a España. He'd suffered an injury caused by a crash in a criterium in the week before - which he  lacked Movistar’s permission to take part in. 

By that point in the season, Carapaz had already made a deal with Team Ineos for 2020, reportedly for a much bigger salary than he had been making in Movistar.

Apart from Carapaz’s complicated departure from the Spanish team, his agent, Giuseppe Acquadro and Movistar team manager Eusebio Unzué have also had a tumultuous relationship. Acquadro is the agent for Carapaz, Nairo Quintana, Winner Anacona and Andrey Amador, all of whom left Movistar at the end of 2019. Unzué reportedly said last year that he would no longer employ any riders that Acquadro represented.

Speaking in the Netflix documentary 'El dia menos pensado' [The least expected day], which covers the whole of Movistar's 2019 season, director Pablo Lastras said: "I don’t care about his [Carapaz’s] future. He’s not been loyal and I don’t want a rider who’s not been loyal in my team.

"They might have given him more money [in Ineos] than we could, but he jumped the gun, because there was money this year [2020] in the team."

Fourth at the 2018 Giro d’Italia, Carapaz’s victory there last year was one of the most unexpected Grand Tour wins of recent years, with the Ecuadorean starting the race as a ‘Plan B’ for Movistar, led by Mikel Landa.

However, as Landa struggled with early poor form, crashes, and injuries, Carapaz flew under the radar on GC until the third week, when he moved ahead of leading favourites Vincenzo Nibali (then with Bahrain-Merida) and Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) to claim his country’s first-ever Grand Tour win. 

Carapaz has defended himself from Lastras’ charges on ESPN Bike, saying: "The kind of trust that I needed [from the team] was never really provided.

"I’ve not been disloyal. I gave the team more than they asked for. As a rider I gave it everything and, if they don’t value that, then people can draw their own conclusions."

This article has been corrected so that it states that Carapaz was fourth at the 2018 Giro d'Italia, and not the 2019 edition, which he won.