Carapaz grabs unexpected time bonus on sprint day at the Giro d'Italia

SCALEA ITALY MAY 12 Richard Carapaz of Ecuador and Team INEOS Grenadiers competes during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 6 a 192km stage from Palmi to Scalea Giro WorldTour on May 12 2022 in Scalea Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) at the Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

It was far from a day for the GC men on Wednesday's stage 11 of the Giro d'Italia. The pan-flat run across Emilia-Romagna offered very little in the way of action beyond the final sprint to the line in Reggio Emilia.

However, despite it being – once again – far from an action-filled stage, Richard Carapaz still managed to improve his situation in the fight for the maglia rosa.

The Ecuadorian climber benefitted from a spot of good planning from his Ineos Grenadiers team at the second intermediate sprint of the day at San Giovanni in Persiceto, with the peloton contesting the dash for the line after the early breakaway was caught with 92km to run.

Ben Swift hit the front of the peloton, leading out Carapaz at top speed for the line as Jhonatan Narváez protected his countryman's wheel. In the end, there was little resistance from other teams as Carapaz led the way across the line to grab three bonus seconds.

Narváez was second across, while Loïc Vliegen (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) was third. Other GC favourites such as João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates), Romain Bardet (Team DSM), and Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) were nowhere to be seen.

The time gain means that Carapaz finishes the unremarkable sprint stage up in second place from fourth, having gained three bonus seconds on his rivals.

Ineos' move – seeking to gain advantages even in more unexpected places – is in line with the way of racing the team have pursued through the spring, something deputy team principal Rod Ellingworth told Cyclingnews last month that they would look to carry forward into the stage racing season.

"It's about just being a bit more creative with the racing," Ellingworth said. "Not being as reserved in some ways, but also just letting people get out there, and giving people opportunities to race. We're giving people the chance to sort of show who they are in races but doing it in a smart way."

Carapaz now lies level on time with Almeida, 12 seconds down on race leader Juan Pedro López, whose Trek-Segafredo squad did make an attempt to lead him out at the sprint.

Bardet drops to fourth place at 14 seconds down, while the remainder of the GC favourites remain in the same positions as they had already occupied.

Carapaz went into the Giro as the main favourite among the major contenders for the overall title, and the 2019 winner has done little to dissuade onlookers of that notion. After a solid stage 2 time trial, he was among the strongest riders on the Blockhaus summit finish, and he's now picking up seconds where others are failing to.

The likely next opportunity for a GC showdown will come on Saturday's stage 14, a hill-packed ride around Piemonte ending in Turin. Stage 12 on Thursday is likely to be one for the breakaway as the peloton crosses the Appennines to Genoa, while stage 13 to Cuneo looks set to be another sprint day.

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Daniel Ostanek
Production editor

Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Prior to joining the team, he had written for most major publications in the cycling world, including CyclingWeekly, Rouleur, and CyclingTips.


Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France and the spring Classics, and has interviewed many of the sport's biggest stars, including Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Demi Vollering, and Anna van der Breggen.


As well as original reporting, news and feature writing, and production work, Daniel also runs The Leadout newsletter and oversees How to Watch guides throughout the season. His favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Volta a Portugal, and he rides a Colnago C40.