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The Olympic champion and third-place finisher at the 2021 Tour de France failed to finish Saturday’s stage after struggling through the opening weeks of the Spanish race.
No immediate explanation was given for the 28-year-old’s abandon until a statement released by his Ineos Grenadiers team Sunday.
“I wanted to support the team here at the Vuelta a España and have gone out there every day and given it my all, but unfortunately I’ve suffered with the heat and have ended totally empty,” Carapaz said.
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Carapaz had come into the Vuelta as part of a three-prong assault for Ineos Grenadiers but lost time as soon as the race went uphill. The Ecuadorian has struggled to shine since, finishing stage 13 nearly one hour down on GC.
The searing Spanish heatwave is likely just a part of the cause for Carapaz’s early exit.
The Ecuadorian ace bounced from a GC win at the Tour de Suisse in June almost directly to the Tour de France, where he put in a resilient ride to finish third. Within one week of rolling into Paris, he was receiving a gold medal in Tokyo after winning the Olympic road race. Three weeks later, he was in Burgos ready to start the Vuelta.
Only now has Carapaz has earned some well-deserved downtime.
“Now I’m going to recover and reset my goals,” he said. “I am very proud of what I have achieved this season, and will work hard to build on this and keep moving forward, and will fight to achieve more success.”
Carapaz had not previously confirmed his ambitions for the end of 2021, though the road worlds and Italian classics may have been a possibility. It now seems Carapaz may not race again this season, with the 28-year-old hinting that he was already looking toward next year.
“You have to let it flow. Thank you Ineos Grenadiers for the opportunity at La Vuelta. We are already working on 2022,” he wrote on Instagram.
In the meantime, Carapaz will be able to watch from his sofa as Egan Bernal and Adam Yates look to turn around a Vuelta that could be at risk of slipping from their grasp.