Richard Carapaz recorded Ineos' fifth WorldTour stage race victory of the season after claiming the overall at the Tour de Suisse 2021, underlying his and the team's confidence ahead of the Tour de France and the Olympics.
Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) took the overall title by 17 seconds over Colombian Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-Nippo) with Danish rider Jakob Fuglsang (Astana-Premier Tech) third.
"It’s a really beautiful victory, we’ve worked really hard for it, we’ve been in great form, we’ve been testing ourselves to see where we’re all at, and to win here in Switzerland it gives me a lot of confidence and the team as well," Carapaz said after the race. "It’s a beautiful race, and to win it makes it all the better, and to have this title on my palmarès is something really special, I’m really happy."
Uran tried multiple attacks on the cobbled final climb of the Gottardpass but Carapaz stuck to his wheel along with Dunbar. In the end, the stage win was contested between Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Gino Mäder (Bahrain Victorious) with Mäder adding a Tour de Suisse stage win to his Giro stage victory.
"At the start of the day we didn’t have many seconds ahead of Rigo [Uran], but I knew that I was feeling good and that the team is going really well, I have a lot of trust in them and them in me, and we knew that they were going to attack, but in the end, I had Eddie [Dunbar] with me and he was responding to all the attacks, and I was feeling good so I knew I could be there with them. When Rigo attacked I was there, and during the final, it was really important to have a team-mate with me, it makes you feel stronger and it was great to arrive at the line together.
"It’s been great having the team around me, how strong they’ve all been, in the end, we had the situation under control right from the start, and in the end, we had a good day together."
Ineos had been strong throughout the race, chasing down early attacks from riders such as Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) in the opening stages.
It was important for Carapaz to have riders like Rohan Dennis and Luke Rowe around him on the flatter sections of the race, but it was mostly left down to Dunbar to look after the 2019 Giro d'Italia winner in the mountains as riders like Pavel Sivakov looked to still be returning to form after he had crashed out of this year's Italian Grand Tour in the first week.
Carapaz will now be setting his sights firmly on his next two objectives, which are the Tour de France and the road race at this summer's Olympic Games. The Ecuadorian previously told Cycling Weekly he would be one of the leaders of Ineos at the Tour at the start of the year.
"It’s good to come here, we’ve been working hard since last year and it’s great to get this result. It’s been one of my main objectives, so to come away with the win gives me confidence and the team as well ahead of the rest of the summer," he said.
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