Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) won his first stage race of the season at the Tour de Suisse on Sunday, providing a confidence boosting victory as he looks ahead to his next summer targets, including the Tour de France.
"In the end it’s a really beautiful victory, we’ve worked really hard for it," Carapaz said. "We’ve been in great form, we’ve been testing ourselves to see where we’re all at and to win here in Switzerland it gives me a lot of confidence and the team as well.
"It’s a beautiful race – and to win it makes it all the better – and to have this title on my palmares is something really special. I’m really happy."
Carapaz took over the race lead in the eight-day Tour de Suisse following his stage 5 victory at Leukerbad. The Ecuadorian then held onto his lead through the final three stages, including a mountainous final stage to Andermatt, to win the overall title by 17 seconds ahead of Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-Nippo) and 1:15 ahead of Jakob Fuglsang (Astana-Premier Tech).
"At the start of the day we didn’t have many seconds ahead of Rigo but I knew that I was feeling good and that the team are going really well – I have a lot of trust in them and them in me – and we knew that they were going to attack," Carapaz said. "But in the end I had Eddie [Dunbar] with me and he was responding to all the attacks and I was feeling good so I knew I could be there with them."
Stage 8 finished with a climb of Gotthard Pass before dropping into Andermatt for the finish where Gino Mäder (Bahrain Victorious) took the stage win ahead of Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation). Carapaz finished with Uran – remaining glued to his wheel on the climb – just nine seconds behind Mäder. The fifth place finish on the day was enough to seal the overall victory.
"It’s been great having the team around me, how strong they’ve all been. In the end we had the situation under control right from the start, and in the end we had a good day together," Carapaz said.
Ineos Grenadiers have not announced their full roster for the Tour de France but it will include 2018 champion and recent Tour de Romandie winner Geraint Thomas, along with recent Critérium du Dauphiné winner Richie Porte. Carapaz, who won the 2019 Giro d'Italia and finished second overall at last year's Vuelta a España, is also expected to line-up alongside them.
Asked whether the Tour de France was a goal for him or if he will be supporting Thomas, Carapaz said: “The truth is that this is a showing of the strength of the team that we have, and of course, I am going to share the leadership with Geraint.
“We just want to win the Tour ... and we are going to go there with a strong team.”
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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.
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