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Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) confirmed he is still on track for another a second run at the pink jersey at the Giro d’Italia despite a heavy fall last week at the Étoile de Bessèges.
Despite the ongoing uncertainty that hangs over the team’s plans for the Tour de France in the aftermath of Egan Bernal’s lay-off, Carapaz is putting the Giro at the center of his plans.
“Yes, the Giro is still our objective for the season and there’s been no change as yet,” the Ecuadorean said prior to the start of the first stage of the Tour de la Provence. “Hopefully, we’re still on track for that.”
After crashing on a damp descent on the third stage of last week’s Étoile de Bessèges, the Olympic road race champion opted not to ride the Alès time trial that concluded the five-day event.
“Injuries often feel worse two days after you get them and he’s a bit sore this morning. He’s pulling out just as a precaution,” Ineos DS Christian Knees told VeloNews in Alès on Sunday just before that time trial began.
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Carapaz still has one leg heavily bandaged but admitted it could have been worse.
“It was a pretty hard crash and I’ve got a few scrapes, but I came away from it without any real significant injuries,” he said before starting the Provence stage to Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.
“They’re healing up day and day and I already feel much better, and I’m happy to be continuing my preparation here at the Tour de la Provence for the bigger goals ahead.”
Carapaz’s performance on the flat, but the fiercely windy first stage in Provence underlined the rapidness of his recovery from the setback at Bessèges.
He was one of four Ineos riders who forced the race to split in crosswinds 70km from the finish and is now the team’s principal candidate for the overall title, which will likely be decided on the climb of the Montagne de Lure on Sunday afternoon.
“It’s quite a tough climb and it’s likely to be the place where the leader’s jersey will be decided,” the Ecuadorean agreed.
Carapaz also said he had seen the footage released on Thursday of teammate Egan Bernal walking out of his front door after undergoing a series of operations following his crash while training in Colombia that left him with life-threatening injuries.
“It was nice to see. We’re good friends and are regularly in touch with each other,” he said. “Let’s hope that his recuperation continues to go well and that he gets back on the right track.”