Route du Sud (finale)
Young Ecuador climber finishes as best under-26 rider in the race, completes excellent first part to his maiden full pro season with his best stagerace performance to date
There were no changes on the final stage of the 41st Route du Sud, as Richard Carapaz had to stay content with 2nd place overall in the Occitan race.
The climber from Ecuador had no real chances to improve his one-second deficit on race leader Silvan Dillier (BMC) -the Swiss rider got it up to seven, after a slight cut into the finish of the Nogaro raceway–. The early breakaway took all bonus seconds at both the two intermediate sprints and the arrival, narrowly claimed by Tom Scully (CDT) as Carlos Barbero finished 10th.
Dillier, Carapaz and Elissonde (SKY) made it to the final podium, Richard also stepping onto it to receive the white jersey as best youngster in the race, one that he donned already since stage one on Thursday.
Few weeks after turning 24 years old, Carapaz puts a sweet end to the first part of his maiden full season as a pro, with overall good results –2nd in Larciano and Route du Sud; 4th in Castilla y León; 6th in Madrid– that leave him more than satisfied before heading back home in Ecuador for a few weeks' rest.
Richard Carapaz: "I leave this race really satisfied with my performance. The racing here was always out of control by any squad – it was a race where you had to care care of yourself, and I think I did what I needed. We saw on stage one how no one wanted to push behind after the big break was established, so Pablo told me to go forward and attack to get as close as possible to that move. We were fortunate enough to enter the break itself, which was important for the GC because the move became decisive in the end. Yesterday, Dani Moreno's help was impressive and crucial. Without him, it'd have been way more difficult to reach Dillier down. When I was able to catch him into the final meters I made the sprint of my life, because I knew if would be a matter of very few seconds. We knew we really didn't stand a chance today because it was a sprinter's stage, but I'm still happy about thise second place and especially with the help all the guys in the team offered me. They've taken care of everything I needed and worked to their best.
"I'm really proud about what I accomplished in this first half of the season. I was able to unleash all of my current potential with hard work, and learnt so many experiences and skills from my team-mates and sports directors. I'm just a neo-pro, and I'm trying to squeeze every moment, learn all good things to put them into practice later on. Everything that they do for me seems to be paying off. I'll be heading back to Ecuador on Tuesday, and I'll stay there for a month before taking on the second part of my season. I leave really happy because I know that the future is looking bright, after all that I did in the early season. There's so much still left to learn and lots of suffering to come, but I'm hopeful about the way ahead.”
Soler finishes 8th overall in Tour de Suisse
In turn, the Tour de Suisse took its curtains down on Sunday after the 29km ITT showdown in Schaffhausen saw Slovenian Simon Spilak (KAT) claiming overall honours. Marc Soler completed a great performance today, 7th in the stage result (58" behind winner Rohan Dennis from BMC), improving his GC result by one place to claim a fine 8th spot. Also Víctor de la Parte (15th today) rode a strong TT to confirm his 11th place in the GC, just one step behind the overall top-ten of a WorldTour race.
Picture (c): La Route du Sud – La Dépêche du Midi