Michał Kwiatkowski on Richard Carapaz: 'It's in his nature, his style, but I think he's attacking too much' at Tour de France

Ecuadorian Carapaz has tried on numerous occasions to distance his GC rivals

Richie Porte, Michal Kwiatkowski and Richard Carapaz on stage 11 of the 2021 Tour de France
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ineos Grenadiers will continue to prioritise Richard Carapaz securing a final podium spot over stages at the Tour de France.

Heading into the final five days of the 2021 race, Carapaz sits fourth overall, just a second back from Jonas Vingegaard of Jumbo-Visma in third but 5-33 adrift from the yellow jersey of Tadej Pogačar.

Despite beginning the race with four co-leaders in Carapaz, Geraint Thomas, Richie Porte, and Tao Geoghegan Hart, the British team have endured a disappointing Tour and face not winning a stage or the race outright for the first time since 2014.

>>> Tadej Pogačar expresses confusion at 'strange' tactics of Tour de France rivals

Two back-to-back summit finishes on Wednesday and Thursday present the team with a chance to end their stage drought and propel Carapaz into the top-three.

The Ecuadorian, who won the 2019 Giro d'Italia and finished second in last year's Vuelta a España, has been typically aggressive on occasions throughout the race, especially in the opening week, but each time he has launched a move he has been unable to consolidate an advantage.

His team-mate Michał Kwiatkowski told Cycling Weekly at the start of stage 17: "I think he has been attacking too much, to be honest.

"He has always been marked and those guys are keeping themselves super close together and it's hard to make a difference.

"I guess he just believes he can win the Tour de France and if you sit on the wheels you're never going to win.

"That's just Richard. The belief is there and he will keep on trying. Sometimes it's difficult to make a difference, but it's in his nature, his style.

"We have seen in other races that's how he has won races, so hopefully he can do it again.

"Today and tomorrow will make the biggest difference with the GC guys. He has one last, final push in the mountains and the Pyrenees will make the difference."

Richard Carapaz attacks on stage eight of the Tour de France

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Although Ineos have won the two most recent editions of the Giro d'Italia, they have been left in the shadow at the Tour de France since Egan Bernal was victorious in 2019.

Crashes in the first few days of this edition have hampered their goals, but Kwiatkowski has defended their approach to racing.

"I think we have been one of those teams actually trying to put pressure on other GC teams," the 31-year-old said.

"From my opinion, we have been more aggressive and the other teams haven't been.

"Maybe other teams are hunting for stage wins and maybe that's why we haven't won a stage yet, but we still believe Carapaz can finish on the podium in Paris. That's always been our main objective."

Addressing their lack of stage success, the Polish rider added: "This is racing: you can't look at the past or history. Today's the day, that's the most important for tactics, for motivation. We give it our best and the results will or will not come."

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Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.