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 (opens in new tab), 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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