Olympic road race champion Richard Carapaz, who was third in last year’s Tour de France, is being assessed by the Ineos Grenadiers’ medical staff after a high-speed crash on the final descent of the third stage of the Étoile de Bessèges.
TV images of the incident were unclear, but the Ecuadorean was seen sliding into a roadside ditch as the lead group was dropping down from the Col de Trélis, about 8km from the finish in Bessèges. Stage 3 Friday was the first of the race’s two key GC stages.
Carapaz managed to finish, coming in nine-and-a-half minutes down on stage winner Benjamin Thomas (Cofidis). He went onto the Ineos bus to be assessed by the team’s doctor.
“I’ve got no idea what his condition is yet. It seemed to me that his wheel slipped or perhaps the rider behind him might have gone over him. He’s with the doctor now being looked at,” Ineos coach Dario Cioni told VeloNews soon after the finish.
The incident occurred 10 days after Egan Bernal’s training crash in Colombia that left the 2019 Tour de France winner with serious injuries that have required a series of operations.
Speaking to VeloNews prior to the stage start in Bessèges this morning [Friday], Ineos’s world time trial champion Filippo Ganna said that Carapaz was the team’s main hope for the stage and GC. “Richie’s in good shape,” said Ganna. “We saw yesterday that he’s not on the same level as the top five riders, but we know that his goals are not focused on this race but are further down the line.”
Ganna said the British team’s riders would race aggressively and young American Magnus Sheffield fully encapsulated that. The 19-year-old was in the seven-man break and ultimately proved to be the strongest of them, splitting the group on the penultimate climb, then riding clear on his own on the final ascent, only to be caught by the peloton just before it topped out. He crossed the line a minute and eight seconds behind Frenchman Thomas.