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Giro d'Italia

Richard Carapaz very clear on ambitions: ‘I want to win the Giro d’Italia’

Ecuadorian returns to the Giro d'Italia backed by Ineos Grenadiers as a 'very different rider' from his breakout 2019 raid.

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BUDAPEST (VN) — Richard Carapaz is just fine if everyone is calling him the favorite to win the pink jersey at the 2022 Giro d’Italia.

A winner in 2019 with Movistar, Carapaz returns to the Giro with a deep Ineos Grenadiers squad in what would be the team’s fourth pink jersey in five years if he arrives in Verona as the winner.

“We come to the Giro with a complete team, with the ambitions of doing things well, with the intention of winning,” Carapaz said. “I think my preparation was optimal in Ecuador, and we’re ready to take on the race.

“This Giro is my latest objective and a very personal challenge,” he said. “To race the Giro with such a strong team is very important, and I want to do it the best possible way and try to win.”

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A largely unknown Carapaz won the 2019 Giro with impressive tactics at Movistar, a victory that led him to be the first rider from Ecuador to win one of cycling’s three grand tours.

He’s since emerged as a major cycling star, winning the Olympic gold medal in the elite men’s road race in Tokyo and joining Ineos Grenadiers, cycling’s richest team, to finish third in the 2021 Tour de France and second in the 2020 Vuelta a España.

“Winning the Giro was a great moment for me. It was only my second grand tour and I was able to win by attacking,” he said. “I remember it was raining and I was wearing the jersey of the best young rider. All of this was very special.

“I am a very different rider from when I won the 2019 Giro,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot, I’ve raced many different races, against some big rivals. Now more than ever I come to this Giro with a very clear objective. In 2019, I was sharing the role of the leader on the team.”

Backing Carapaz this month will be the likes of Richie Porte, Jhonatan Narváez, Jonathan Castroviejo, and Pavel Sivakov.

As winners of three of the past four editions of the Giro, Ineos Grenadiers is even more of a favorite with Carapaz returning to the Italian grand tour for the first time since winning in 2019.

“There are four or five riders who come here with very good form and high ambitions, so we cannot overlook anyone,” Carapaz said. “It’s a challenging route, and we’ll make our race like we always do.

“The Giro won’t be decided by just one stage. We already have a serious climb on Mount Etna, and from there, there are several hard days. There are always surprises at the Giro,” he said. “The race isn’t decided always on the ‘queen stage,’ and things can happen at any moment.”

Richard Carapaz on Egan Bernal: ‘It was beautiful to see him after his accident’

Ineos Grenadiers is hoping to win its fourth pink jersey in five years. (Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Carapaz also recently was reunited with Egan Bernal, who returned to Europe following his career-threatening crash in January in Colombia.

Carapaz had been with Bernal just days before he crashed, and said he was moved to see Bernal riding his bike again and slowly recovering his full health.

“It was beautiful to see Egan after the accident. It was very moving for me to see him again, and to see him on the bike again. It’s something important,” Carapaz said. “You can see that he’s really motivated to come back, and we hope if things continue on the right way with his recovery we can see him again in the races.”

Carapaz will start with the No. 1 bib, even if Bernal isn’t at the Giro to defend his 2021 title.

“Egan’s accident was very serious, and we come here very clear with the objective of winning here in the Giro,” he said. “Apart from what happened to Egan, trying to win this Giro is also something very important for me.”