Giro d'Italia (st. 4)
Ecuadorian bounces back after misfortune on Monday: gets through another pile-up en route to Frascati, jumps away from selected lead group with 500 meters to go, holds off punchy climbers and sprinters to take first Movistar Team success in 2019 ‘Corsa Rosa’.
Barely 24 hours after a mechanical + pile-up cost him nearly fifty seconds over the main GC group, Richard Carapaz (Movistar Team) recovered from a psychological standpoint, looked towards the 2019 Giro d’Italia with the same excitement and happiness he’d done before the start -and also in his debut in 2018- and raised his arms victorious with an intelligent, powerful attack at the end of stage four, a 235km ‘marathon’ towards Frascati with a demanding uphill finish.
The relax in the peloton for the early two thirds of the race was replaced by the usual stress in finishes like those, with Antonio Pedrero, Héctor Carretero, Andrey Amador and José Joaquín Rojas once again keeping Landa and Carapaz well protected. The two got through a big pile-up in the bunch with five kilometers to go, staying into a 40-man peloton which seemed destined to contest the day’s success into the 2km, 4% finishing slope. However, another crash into a roundabout further split the lead group, taking Landa down and 44″ off the front at the finish.
Carapaz resisted inside the 13-man group that kicked off the climb with a chance to win, and against the tired lead-out men ahead of the sprinters, he waited for the last 500 meters to launch his move, a brutal signature acceleration, and hold off faster finishers such as Diego Ulissi (UAD, 3rd) and Caleb Ewan (LTS), who made things incredibly hard for the Carchi native at the end. A victory -his second in the Giro d’Italia and the sixth of his pro career- to smile again and keep the Movistar Team’s morale high to keep seeking for success in the 2019 ‘Corsa Rosa’.
Richard Carapaz: “I’m just so emotional at this moment! I just can’t feel happier. I had a different mentality heading into today’s stage. It was such an unlucky finished yesterday. I just wanted to turn back the clock today, start from zero. And that’s how it happened. We knew that such a long stage, with many little ascents, would suit us a bit better, but I wasn’t really thinking about contesting the victory, never mind taking it. Our team’s strategy today was just staying with the top contenders and having all team-mates taking care of Mikel and myself. Sadly, that crash split the bunch, Mikel and other team-mates were also involved later on, and the team told me to stay there at the front and give it a try if I could.
“I knew there were some fast legs into that group, yet I sought for my chance. With 600 meters to go, I saw an opportunity to launch a move that could stick, jumped away with my everything, and saw that I had a good distance, even if I had to push myself over the limit in the end because Ewan was coming back. It’s such an emotional day for me, even more so after what we had to endure yesterday, following all the efforts in the last few months to come here in good condition. I’m now just thinking about everyone who supports us, me and the team, my loving family, my team, my country. I’m just so happy.“
Imagen portada (c): BettiniPhoto