Carapaz is reserved but decisive in critical moments, says Puccio

Salvatore Puccio (Ineos Grenadiers) during stage 5 of the Giro d'Italia
Salvatore Puccio (Ineos Grenadiers) during stage 5 of the Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The depth of the Ineos Grenadiers team supporting Richard Carapaz at the Giro d'Italia is clear from the names of the riders left out of the line-up. There was no place for the experienced Elia Viviani, for the 2020 winner Tao Geoghegan Hart or, most notably of all, for the on-form Eddie Dunbar, winner of the Settimana Coppi e Bartali.

The process of putting together a team, directeur sportif Matteo Tosatto conceded as the race began, was far from straightforward, but one name was effectively an automatic selection. Ineos have won three of the past four editions of the Giro d'Italia and the only rider to contribute to each of those successful Italian expeditions was Salvatore Puccio.

Tosatto has described Puccio as the 'faro' – the guiding light – of the Ineos Giro d'Italia team, and there was little prospect of the Italian being deemed surplus to requirements here, despite illness and injury blighting the opening weeks of his season. "Let's say that it's already nine years that I've been here at the Giro, and I've earned quite a lot of trust from the team," Puccio told Cyclingnews. "That's important."

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Barry Ryan
Head of Features

Barry Ryan is Head of Features at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation, published by Gill Books.