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Giro d'Italia

Richard Carapaz: ‘The balance is good for us’ after Giro d’Italia opening stages

Ineos Grenadiers puts four riders into the top-20 in Saturday's TT as Carapaz braces for Mount Etna: 'The whole Giro is still ahead of us.'

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KAPOSVAR, Hungary (VN) — Ineos Grenadiers is poised to leave Hungary with mission accomplished for Richard Carapaz with its Giro d’Italia GC ambitions fully intact.

Carapaz didn’t speak to the media after crossing the finish in Saturday’s explosive time trial after ceding 28 seconds to arch-rival Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco).

Carapaz didn’t seem happy about his ride in one of the Giro’s two time trials, but he took some satisfaction after making gains on others, such as Iván Sosa (Movistar), who lost 1:23 against the clock.

“Yesterday was a good balance for us,” Carapaz said at the start Sunday.  “I believe there are already some considerable differences, but we have to remember we’ve only raced two days. We have to take the race day by day and the whole Giro is still ahead of us.”

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Carapaz and Ineos Grenadiers stride into this Giro as the five-star favorite.

With Carapaz, the team has one of the former winners in the bunch, and Ineos has the experience to know how to manage grand tours. It’s won three of the past four pink jerseys and will be racing to win during the next three weeks.

“The team comes with the idea to fight for the GC, and not hunt for stages,” Carapaz said. “We have to get through these flat stages, to avoid crashes or whatever the race might present us.”

Things have started fairly well for Ineos in the opening days of racing in Hungary. Richie Porte was caught up in a crash in the uphill finale in stage 1 but was not seriously injured.

Ineos Grenadiers put four riders into the top-20 in the intense, technical time trial ending at the Budapest Castle on a course packed three-deep with screaming fans.

Grand tour rookie Ben Tulett led the way with fifth at 13 seconds slower, with Pavel Sivakov and Porte stopping the clock at 22 seconds slower in 15th and 16th. Carapaz and Owain Doull were 19th and 20th, respectively, at 28 seconds slower.

Carapaz knows that the key is to have the patience to arrive at the Giro’s decisive final week with all GC options fully open, and above all, avoid race-breaking mishaps or crashes.

With Mount Etna looming Tuesday, Carapaz is bracing for the Giro’s first major mountain summit.

“You have to be careful every day in the Giro,” he said. “Things went pretty well according to our plan in the time trial, and now we have to confront some much more difficult days.”