Giro d'Italia - Richard Carapaz: Yesterday I was playing with my bike in Ecuador and today I have the nicest Jersey of all
May 26 2019 12:24 am CET

Giro d'Italia - Richard Carapaz: Yesterday I was playing with my bike in Ecuador and today I have the nicest Jersey of all
Giro d'Italia - Richard Carapaz: Yesterday I was playing with my bike in Ecuador and today I have the nicest Jersey of all
Photo of Richard Carapaz in his home town - by Marcelo Hernández

Richard Carapaz has taken the Pink Jersey of the Giro d'Italia after launching a strong attack in the penultimate climb of the 14th stage. This is the first time an Ecuadorian rider takes the overall lead of the Italian race.

Close to the highest point of the penultimate ascent of the day, Carapaz launched an attack and none of the favourites could repel it. The Ecuadorian crossed the finish line one minute and 32 seconds ahead of Simon Yates and one minute 54 seconds ahead of other rivals like Vincenzo Nibali and Primoz Roglic.

The rider mentioned at the start of the stage that Movistar had a trick up its sleeve and it played it well to take the Pink Jersey. "It is true that I felt good and I knew the height was going to suit me well," said the Ecuadorian at the end of the stage to Italian broadcaster RAI. "I decided to play my cards at the end and I gave it all because I knew the overall result was at stake.

"I tried at first and I think those 30 seconds I got on the penultimate climb were enough to build more time in the later climb that suited me well. This is a dream come true. I've been working on this from last year and this is the result of my efforts and my day-by-day work."

Carapaz climbed five positions to the top of the overall standings while his teammate Mikel Landa climbed three. "I think we have been playing our cards in the best way and now look at us, we have the Pink Jersey and I think we can defend it the best way possible and try to keep it until Verona.

"We can't rule anyone yet because (Vincenzo) Nibali and (Primoz) Roglic are doing very well, they are the rivals to beat. But we have a very good formation and we will defend the Pink. I think it is easier to defend the Jersey than to get it but there is still a long way to Verona."

The rider looked back on his life to celebrate this victory that is personal and for his country. "It has been such a long time but it feels like yesterday when I was in Ecuador playing with my bike and now look at me, I'm here in the Giro d'Italia and wearing the nicest Jersey, the Pink Jersey," said the rider.

"I can't imagine how Ecuador is living this but I'm sure the country is exploding with excitement."




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