Richard Carapaz is looking to form a new UCI Continental team made up of Ecuadorian and Colombian riders for 2022.
Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) has helped the sport boom in South America, in particular in his home nation of Ecuador where he trains during the off-season.
Winner of the gold medal in the men's road race at the Tokyo Olympics, the 2019 Giro d'Italia, and a podium finisher in both the Tour de France and Vuelta a España; 28-year-old Carapaz has experienced a superb career so far.
But now he is also reportedly wanting to start up a new third division team that will compete in the many South American races on the UCI calendar.
According to journalist Fabricio Tufiño Armas and reported by Marca Colombia, Carapaz is to help develop new talent in Ecuador but he also accepts that the hub for the sport is in Colombia, hence why he will be wanting to sign riders from both nations.
In a Tweet, Tufiño Armas said: "Richard Carapaz is working on forming a continental team by 2022. There are several Ecuadorian and Colombian riders who would be part of the roster of this team. I am aware of several names, including two champions of the Vuelta al Ecuador."
Richard Carapaz está trabajando en formar un equipo continental para el 2022. Hay varios corredores ecuatorianos y colombianos que formarían parte de la nómina de este equipo. Tengo en conocimiento varios nombres, entre ellos, dos campeones de la Vuelta al Ecuador. pic.twitter.com/Gn6As6zJNdOctober 29, 2021
It has also been reported that sponsors in South America are very keen to get on board with the team and that the financial backing has already been agreed.
Carapaz would not be the first to create a team while still riding. Alberto Contador created a team in the twilight of his career which has now formed into EOLO-Kometa.
Mikel Landa was a big helper in the reforming of the Basque Euskaltel-Euskadi team, while former Tour de France champion Andy Schleck created a women's team after retiring.
Carapaz is set to end his 2021 season at the Vuelta al Ecuador now he has rested after abandoning the Vuelta feeling "totally empty."
The Vuelta al Ecuador is an eight-day-long race over nine stages taking on some of the best cycling terrain the relatively small nation has to offer.
The race was originally meant to take place on November 13, however, due to a social and political situation with the race now starting on December 8
Carapaz handed the trophy to last year's winner Santiago Montenegro (Escribano Sport) as a special guest.
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Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!
I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.
It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.
After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.
When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.
My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.
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