Richard Carapaz says the Ineos Grenadiers "remain in the fight" at the Tour de France after the opening couple of stages have seen last year's first and second place Tadej Pogačar and Primož Roglič surge to the top of the general classification as Geraint Thomas lost time up the Mûr-de-Bretagne on stage two.
Pogačar and Roglič finished second and third behind Mathieu van der Poel, who stormed into the yellow jersey with his debut Tour stage win, and have already opened up a slight gap over the other favourites for the overall victory.
While Richard Carapaz finished two seconds behind the two Slovenians, Geraint Thomas was unhitched on the climb to the finish, losing 15 seconds to his team-mate.
Thomas now finds himself 28 seconds behind third-place Pogačar, while the Ecuadorian Carapaz is only 10 seconds better.
"The stage was complicated. The final was quite nervous and a lot of people wanted to try and attack," Carapaz said after the stage.
"For us, the team was there and they did some amazing work into the finish. The pull by Richie Porte was incredible to put us into good position. It’s a bit of a shame that G lost a few seconds but we remain in the fight and there is a lot to come. We will see little by little, day by day."
With stages three and four flat affairs for the sprinters, the stage five time trial will give Thomas an opportunity to claw back some seconds.
The fact is, however, that of the four Ineos Grenadiers that were touted as potential contenders, only two remain, the British squad forced to burn matches early. Giro d'Italia winner Tao Geoghegan Hart lost five minutes on the opening stage after being caught behind a crash, and lost nearly four more on stage two after working hard to keep his leaders out of trouble, while Richie Porte also sits three minutes off the pace after only two days having also led from the front up the Mûr-de-Bretagne.
The pecking order at Ineos has become a lot clearer in the blink of an eye. Blink again, and it seems even at this early stage that the Slovenians could already be well up the road.
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