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Carapaz to miss Tour de France and target Vuelta a Espana

MOLINA DE ARAGON SPAIN AUGUST 17 Richard Carapaz of Ecuador and Team INEOS Grenadiers crosses the finishing line during the 76th Tour of Spain 2021 Stage 4 a 1639km stage from El Burgo de Osma to Molina de Aragn 1134m lavuelta LaVuelta21 on August 17 2021 in Molina de Aragn Spain Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo MorenoGetty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Richard Carapaz has confirmed he will miss this year’s Tour de France and instead spend time at altitude at home in Ecuador before targeting the Vuelta a España. 

The Ineos Grenadiers rider finished second to Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) at the Giro d’Italia, losing the maglia rosa on the last mountain stage to the Marmolada but defending his place on the podium in the final time trial to Verona. 

Carapaz finished third at the 2021 Tour de France before going on to win the gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics road race. However, he was always keen to skip this year’s Tour de France, with Ineos Grenadiers expected to name Adam Yates and Dani Martinez as team leaders, while Tom Pidcock, Ethan Hayter and Geraint Thomas are all on a long list of riders for the Grand Boucle.        

Carapaz is happy to spend time at home in July and then aim for victory in the third Grand Tour of the season, with Tadej Pogacar, Primoz Roglic and Remco Evenepoel expected to be his biggest rivals. The 2022 Vuelta a España starts in Utrecht in the Netherlands in August and ends on September 11 in Madrid.

“That’s the main objective. Beforehand it’s possible that I do a small stage race like the Tour de Pologne. Then my season would end with a couple of Classics,” Carapaz said during a press conference on his return to Ecuador from Europe. 

Despite losing the Giro d’Italia to Hindley after spending six days in the maglia rosa, Carapaz refused to consider defeat as a disappointment. 

“It was quite a competitive Giro, and I was pretty consistent. Some days I was better than others but there was always a 100% desire to win,” he insisted.  

Carapaz won the 2019 Giro d’Italia and has now worn the maglia rosa for longer than any other South American rider but that was of little consolation. He is more interested in results. He has ridden nine Grand Tours and has finished on the podium four times.

“The most important thing is not the number but the way in which it has been won,” he suggested.

“I think my performances represent something quite big. At the world level there are four or five (Grand Tour) athletes, and I’m among them. My greatest pride is that I can be among the best.”

29-year-old Carapaz is from Carchi, a northerly region some 3,000 metres above sea level, near the Colombian border, and he prefers to train at home before his major goals so he can spend time with his young family. 

“I am going to be in the country for about a month,I’ll be at home in the Carchi region to train," Carapaz said. "It is a place that I like very much, and I always stay there to train. It is my favourite place.”

Carapaz’s contract with Ineos Grenadiers ends this year and he will soon decide on his future. He could stay at Ineos Grenadiers as the British super team develops a new young generation of riders or move back to Movistar or on to Arkea-Samsic.  

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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.