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Richard Carapaz is almost certain to race the Tour de France in 2023 with Jonathan Vaughters telling VeloNews that the route suits his new marquee signing and that the main discussion is over approach and tactics.
Carapaz signed from Ineos Grenadiers over the winter and massively improves EF Education-EasyPost’s future grand tour ambitions. The former Giro d’Italia winner has been on the podium in the Tour de France and Vuelta a España and has forged a career as one of the most dynamic and exciting riders in the men’s peloton.
The coming weeks will determine Carapaz’s Tour de France approach.
“Our first performance team meeting is in London on November 10 and then the first team get-together is in December but looking at the routes for the Giro and the Tour, the Tour definitely favors Richard’s abilities more. Definitely everyone, including Richard himself, is leaning towards him doing the Tour de France,” Vaughters told VeloNews.
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The main question mark at this point is whether the American team goes all-in on Carapaz’s GC hopes or whether the rider takes a different approach. At the Vuelta a España this year he won three mountain stages and the mountains jersey, and Vaughters watched on with great interest as his new signing delivered a performance that indicated that racing for a top-five doesn’t always provide a huge return on investment and effort when it comes to excitement or exposure.
“We’ll have to see how he’s performing during the year to determine the goal. He’s really versatile as a rider, and he’s ridden GC before but the way he rode the Vuelta, where he got the mountains jersey and won three stages, from a sponsor’s perspective, that’s a lot more spectacular than following the GC riders,” Vaughters said.
“So, we’ll have to take into account how he wants to race the Tour, and then we’ll have to take into account how the sponsors feel about that. Then we’ll come up with a plan. I’ve become a bit less of a fan of just focusing on GC in grand tours, just because it can be a bit dull.
“It has to be a decision we take with him, and it’s a complex decision. That being said, it’s highly likely that he’ll do the Tour de France. Watching him race the Vuelta made me think about whether it’s best to focus on GC. The way he raced the Vuelta was super impressive, so if he could transfer that to the Tour de France, that would be incredible. There’s a decision to be made there.”
If Carapaz does mount a challenge for the yellow jersey then the next question is whether the team builds its entire roster around that purpose. There is real depth within the team but there are also several proven grand tour stage winners with Magnus Cort, Alberto Bettiol, and Rigoberto Uran all recent examples. Vaughters doesn’t envisage a challenge of EF’s philosophy even if Carapaz does target the overall standings.
“It’s a long discussion and we’ve not had that yet but it’s been in our nature to have an attacking team that goes after the race. We put riders in breaks and give guys the chance to go for stage wins,” he said.
“We saw with Jumbo-Visma that they were able to let Wout van Aert go and do his race and still achieve their goals as a team. I don’t think we need to change the history of our team for the last 15 years and go all-in on an attempted GC. I’m not ruling out going all-in Carapaz but it’s not how we’ve raced the Tour in the past.”