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VERONA, Italy (VN) – Ineos Grenadiers’ deputy principal Rod Ellingworth revealed that the British team had no idea that their team leader Richard Carapaz was struggling as he approached the final steep kilometers of the Giro d’Italia’s “queen” stage finale to the summit of the Passo Fedaia on Saturday, when the Ecuadorian not only lost the race’s leader maglia rosa to Jai Hindley, but ceded so much time to the Australian that it effectively cost him the overall title.
“It was obvious that he didn’t have his best day. He raced the final climb full gas and he ended up second. It’s as simple as that,” Ellingworth told VeloNews prior to the start of the final day time trial in Verona.
“He didn’t say anything about being in trouble. He said he felt really good. But I think afterward, he was like, ‘Yeah, I wasn’t on a great day.’”
Ellingworth explained that Carapaz had wanted to stick to the plan that had been mapped out for the Ineos riders before the crucial stage through the Dolomites.
“Credit to him for doing that. He didn’t want to mess around. He stuck to the plan and went for it. He could have ridden the climb differently, but he really wanted to see whether he could distance Hindley. But it turned out the other way around,” he said.
“It was all going to plan. Richard was leading that plan on the road. Bahrain took it on in the final part of the stage, which was fine for us. We had the bodies there to take it on if we had to,” Ellingworth continued.
“It’s a cruel old game, but great nonetheless. It was a good Giro, a good fight all the way. It was on a knife-edge, and I think more and more we’re seeing that. The Giro’s often won on the final day or two. So it’s not a surprise anymore.”
As Ecuadorian fans in the background sang “Happy Birthday” to the smiling Carapaz, who turned 29 on the Giro’s final day, Ellingworth described the Olympic road champion and winner of the 2019 Giro as “very disappointed.”
But he insisted: “I think he should be quite proud of what he’s done. These guys always want to win. But I think from the team’s point of view, we couldn’t have asked for anything more. It’s been a long month from Hungary, and he just got beaten by a better guy on the day.”