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Richard Carapaz takes altitude training to new heights on Ecuadorian volcano

Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) Cotopaxi Volcano training
Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) on the Cotopaxi Volcano (Image credit: Ineos Grenadiers)

Ahead of his season debut at March's Volta a Catalunya, Ineos Grenadiers climber Richard Carapaz has been putting in work at altitude. That's no surprise, given pro riders often spend time training on the peaks of Tenerife or in the Alps, but this week the Ecuadorian has taken it to a whole new level.

The 2019 Giro d'Italia champion has been training in his home country of Ecuador, riding at an altitude far beyond the climbs of Europe. His Ineos team posted images to social media of Carapaz riding the gravel roads on the side of the Cotopaxi Volcano in the Andes.

Carapaz rode at an altitude of 4,800 metres on the volcano, which is the second-highest peak in Ecuador at 5,897 metres. By comparison, the road around Mount Teide in Tenerife tops out at 2,356 metres, while the highest road used in a Grand Tour is the Cime de la Bonette at 2,802 metres.

The 27-year-old has spent the start of 2021 training on home roads in the north of Ecuador, though his latest challenge took him out of the way, some 50km south of the capital Quito. Carapaz was in no danger on the active volcano, though – the last eruption ended in January 2016.

Last week, Carapaz, who took second at the Vuelta a España last season, spent time training with teammate Jhonathan Narváez before heading south to train near the inactive volcano of Chimborazo.

Narváez returned to Europe this week to make his season debut at the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var as part of a powerful squad featuring Tao Geoghegan Hart, Geraint Thomas, and Tom Pidcock.

Carapaz, meanwhile, will continue his training for a while longer yet before heading to Europe to kick off his season at the Volta a Catalunya. He'll then take on Itzulia Basque Country and the Ardennes Classics before building up to a Tour de France bid with the Critérium du Dauphiné.

This July will see Carapaz ride the Tour for the second time after his debut last season. He'll be joined by Giro champion Geoghegan Hart and 2018 winner Thomas, among others, while 2019 winner Egan Bernal is aiming for the Giro d'Italia.

Daniel joined Cyclingnews as staff writer in August 2019 after working as a freelance journalist for seven years, including time spent working for Cyclingnews and sister magazine, Procycling.