Richard Carapaz happy with Tour de France podium but admits Tadej Pogačar is 'very difficult' to beat

The Ecuadorian has now finished in the top-three of all the Grand Tours

Richard Carapaz
(Image credit: Getty)

Richard Carapaz has admitted his pride in finishing third at the 2021 Tour de France, but confessed that being able to win the race would have required a monumental effort.

The Ineos Grenadiers rider will ride into Paris on Sunday comfortably in third-place, 2-59 better off than Ben O'Connor of AG2R Citroën in fourth but 1:43 adrift of Jonas Vingegaard of Jumbo Visma in second.

Carapaz will finish the race 7-03 back from winner Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates)  and he never looked like challenging the Slovenian for the title during the three weeks.

The 28-year-old does not deny that he was some way short of three-stage winner Pogačar but still took pleasure in being the second Latin American to finish on the podium in all three Grand Tours, having won the 2019 Giro d'Italia and finishing second in last year's Vuelta a España.

"I didn't have any high particular high points, but there were no low points either," the Ecuadorian said. "I think that's why I'm satisfied because I was able to take third by staying steady all the way.

"He [Pogačar] was very strong. On the TV it sometimes looks easy when we're riding a stage, but in fact there were times when it was very difficult to cope.

"Pogačar did an amazing race and I can only congratulate him.

"All teams come here to win and that's what we wanted when we started. But in sport there can always be somebody who's performing better than you.

"We did a good job, we were very active, and we tried. And for me personally, I've been a pro for five years and I've been on the podium of three Grand Tours.

"That's very important for me and I want to continue in the future, working on my strengths and weaknesses. 

"Right now, being one of the three strongest riders in this Tour de France is very important."

>>> Tadej Pogačar: The happy kid 'always having fun', riding his favourite toy and eating Big Macs

Carapaz hinted earlier in the week that he may ride the Vuelta a España, which begins on August 14, and reiterated that possibility, although stressed that no decision had been made.

Pogačar is also a potential name on the Vuelta startlist, as is defending champion Primož Roglič who should have recovered from his injury sustained at the Tour in time to take the start in Bilbao.

Carapaz's team, Ineos Grenadiers, will be keen to make an impression at the Spanish Grand Tour having failed to win a stage or the GC at the Tour for the first time since 2014.

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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.