Richard Carapaz, the history maker
Richard Carapaz outlasted his rivals to take an historic solo victory at the Olympic road race, less than a few weeks after finishing third overall at the 2021 Tour de France.
“There is no comparison, ” Carapaz said after the rostrum rite on the Fuji Speedway. “This is the best thing that could have happened to me in my life.”
The 28 -year-old’s Olympic medal is just the third ever for Ecuador, and merely the second gold in autobiography- in his first Olympic appearance.
“Back in my country right now, they’ll be going crazy, ” he said. “It’s the second gold ribbon in our history. If I’m not mistaken, it’s 24 years since the last one, so it’s special. It’s special because it’s the first in this sport and I think it’s the play most people follow in my country.”
Since the start of his career, Carapaz has repeatedly lent his honour to the history books. His overall victory at the 2019 Giro d’Italia was Ecuador’s first ever Grand Tour, and he became the first ever Ecuadorian to climb onto the Tour’s final pulpit when he did so last-place Sunday. With his Olympic road race win, the 28 -year-old not only adds to his country’s all-time medal tally, but he also takes his maiden one-day race victory.
“We’ve had a lot of good achievements, some good titles, and now another one with this gold medal. It’s incredible.”
Fresh from an aggressive Tour de France , not to mention some predicting attempts in the small number of classics he hastened earlier this year, Carapaz started the Olympic road race as one of the beloveds. But with one of the smaller units on the start line and a large number of fierce competitives, he knew he had to bide his time.
“I simply waited for my minute, ” he said. “It “ve been a little” of a crazy date, and a very hard race. I didn’t have a team like some of the others did- “its just” Jonny[ Narvaez] and me- but we had confidence, we’ve both go quite a bit of event and have hastened a great deal in Europe.
“The speed on the climbing was very fast, and then there were lots of onslaughts. I had to be patient as the choices were being made and wait for the right moment- that for me was the most complicated part.”
The winning moment for Carapaz was when Brandon McNulty( USA) jump-start away with about 25 km to go. The two of them worked well together, and with the chasers failing to organise behind- the presence of Wout van Aert and Tadej Pogacar did not help- the leaders been set up a nice crack.
“McNulty was a good breakaway companion. I benefited a good deal from being on his motor on the flat. The moment we ascertained we had 20 seconds, we knew the awards were in play and we led all-in. We had that tiny advantage of 20 -3 0 seconds, and at one point it hit 40. ”
Once on the Fuji Speedway, with around 5 km to go, McNulty paid dearly for his earlier efforts and plummeted off the pace, leaving Carapaz to ride away.
“When we reached the track, I simply carried out under and he slowed down. I “ve had my” indecisions because there were a lot of strong equestrians behind who could have come back, but in the end I had good legs, and those 30 seconds we carved out served me well. It was just full-gas in those final kilometres.”
In the end, Carapaz had more than enough time to enjoy his notorious succes, first along the finishing straight-shooting and then during the podium ceremony.
“It is incredible to see your flag as the top one, and to have this award. It’s sensational.”
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