By Tom Cary
Richard Carapaz sealed a historic victory at the Giro d’Italia, becoming Ecuador’s first ever grand tour winner.
The 26-year-old Movistar rider, a reported target for Team Ineos, was an outside bet at the start of the race in Bologna three weeks ago. But he began Sunday’s final day time trial in Verona in a commanding position, with a near two-minute advantage over home favourite and multiple grand tour winner Vincenzo Nibali [Bahrain-Merida].
Despite losing 51 seconds to the Italian over the 17km course, Carapaz won the maglia rosa by 1min5sec.
“This is the biggest moment of my sporting life, and it’s hard to explain,” Carapaz said at the finish line. “I just suffered from start to finish until I reached the arena here in Verona.”
Nibal beat Primoz Roglic [Jumbo-Visma] to second place, the latter bumping Mikel Landa [Movistar] off the podium by eight seconds thanks to his superior time trialling skills.
Nibali will now take on Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas in the Tour de France in July. The 34 year-old was philosophical in defeat, saying he had tried to go on the attack wherever possible. He credited Carapaz with riding a canny race, particularly his stage 14 win at Courmayeur.
“I tried to the very end but it was difficult to do much with Carapaz and [Movistar team mate] Landa so strong,” the 34 year-old said. “Carapaz raced smart and was also a bit of a surprise. Who really thought he could win the Giro at the start?
“People said we let him get away but that’s not the full picture. While all the big-name riders marked each other, he was quick-thinking and went on the attack at the right moment and in the right way. He had the legs to get away on the road to Courmayeur.”
Britain’s Vuelta a Espana winner Simon Yates [Mitchelton-Scott] finished eight overall after coming home tied for 23rd in Sunday’s final stage, 1min down on stage winner Chad Haga [Sunweb]. Yates had begun the race in confident fashion after wearing the pink jersey for 13 days last year, but was never in the mix.
Credit: The Telegraph, www.telegraph.co.uk