Movistar Team (Italy) – Giro d'Italia (st. 8).
Ecuadorian climber from Movistar Team beats GC contenders with brilliant late attack, claims maiden stage win for Telefónica-backed squad in 2018 Giro d’Italia -eight consecutive years with at least one victory.
Richard Carapaz (Movistar Team) took down another wall in his astonishing progression as a WorldTour cyclist with his biggest victory to date, a maiden stage success in a three-week stagerace. The rider from the Carchí region in Ecuador did so in style, leaving all GC contenders behind with a brutal acceleration with 1.5 kilometers remaining of the climb to Montevergine di Mercogliano -finish of stage eight in 2018 Giro d’Italia- and reaching the finish solo, having chased down a long, early breakaway in the process.
Under soaking rain, ‘Richie’ was still comfortable and near the front of a big group containing all favourites, with Groupama-FDJ and Sky in the lead, which was bringing back all remnants of the day’s escape -having reaching the foot of the 16km ascent with a 1’30” deficit-. Always fresh and quickly reacting to all moves at the gentle slopes fo the climb, Carapaz profited from a slight breather by his rivals and some vigilance in the group to launch his attack; overtake Koen Bouwman (TLJ), still in the lead after the break; and reach the line with seven seconds over the fastest riders in the group, to claim his 3rd pro victory in Europe after the Queen stage and GC wins in the recent Vuelta a Asturias.
The success by Carapaz, the 901st for Eusebio Unzué’s squads and the 18th in this 2018 season for the Movistar Team –eight consecutive years with at least one stage win in the Giro, nine on podiums after Arroyo’s 2nd place in 2010-, takes ‘Richie’ up to eighth overall, 1’06” behind Simon Yates, still in Maglia Bianca as best under-26 competitor in the race. The Ecuadorian and his team-mates -Carlos Betancur and Rafa Valls also finishing inside the GC group- will tackle another tough mountain-top finish on Saturday at the Gran Sasso, more than 2,100 meters above sea level, following 225km which will start at Pesco Sannita.
REACTION / Richard Carapaz:
“I’m so happy, so excited about this win. It’s a magnificent one. I can’t really believe I’ve got this. It’s been a very tough few weeks of work to reach this Giro in good condition. It had already been great to win in Asturias, since it was my first victory in Europe, yet notching up this really big one here in the Giro is incredible.
“With the rain, we knew it was going to be a climb quite more difficult than normal, so slippery, especially on the hairpins, where it was difficult to keep balance. There were lots of nerves at the foot of the climb, but later on, there was some big selections and things became calm after that. I was having great legs from the beginning of the ascent and wanted to try it before the finish because I knew I wouldn’t stand much of a chance if going just for the sprint. I told the team car I was going to attack, I saw an AG2R rider jumping after Sky put on an easier pace and I saw there was a good moment to attack with 2km to go. Once I jumped, I saw I had the legs to keep this pace until the finish, and it all turned out well.
“Our next goals? It will really be day-by-day after this. It’s our time to really get to know the Giro. It’s a long, tough race, and with everything that’s left before Rome, we must take things easy. Whatever good comes after this will be welcome – and I’m sure many more chances will arise following this victory. For the time being, it’s all about enjoying this victory. Another tough stage is coming up tomorrow – we’ll try to rekindle our goals and maybe keep on trying to get some more good results.”
Picture (c): BettiniPhoto.net.