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LAVARONE, Italy (VN) – Richie Porte offered a glowing tribute to his Ineos Grenadier teammate and Giro d’Italia race leader Richard Carapaz at the finish of the race’s latest mountain stage, describing the Ecuadorean as being “as professional as anybody I’ve ever seen.”
Speaking moments after the stage finish, the Australian veteran was asked for his perspective on Carapaz, who holds a three-second lead over Bora’s Jai Hindley.
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“He’s super calm. Off the bike, he’s as professional as anybody I’ve ever seen. He wants this probably more than anybody else,” said Porte. “It’s great to have him around and morale’s good within the team. Hopefully, in the next few days we can finish the job off for him.”
After another strong show of hard riding on the front of the maglia rosa group for Carapaz on the stage’s final climb, Monterovere, Porte acknowledged that he’s happy to give all that he’s got for his leader. “That’s my role. We all believe in Richard. He’s a great leader, so I think that makes it all that easier to go all in for him,” admitted the Ineos rider.
Speaking to VeloNews, Ineos deputy team principal Rod Ellingworth said, “Another stage has been ticked off. It was a good day, the guys worked really well.” Although Carapaz didn’t gain any time on Hindley, who remains his most direct rival, he finished half a dozen seconds clear of Bahrain’s Mikel Landa in the final dash to the finish line, while UAE’s João Almeida came in a minute and ten seconds down, which relegated him a place to fourth on GC, now 1-54 behind the Ecuadorean.
“I think it was quite obvious what Bahrain were trying to do to distance Almeida, which was perfect for us as well. I think the three main guys there rode together in a way, or at least they had the same intention,” said Ellingworth.
“Everybody knows Almeida’s time trial capability compared to them, so of course they all had the same common goal. Fair play to Bahrain, it was a good day for them and it’s good to see the young guys winning. But Richard looks good and it’s all to play for. As is always the case with the Giro, it’s all decided in the final few days and anything could happen yet.”
When it was put to him that Almeida was all but out of the contest for the overall title, Ellingworth said the Portuguese couldn’t be counted out completely, citing winning comebacks late on in the Giro that were made by Vincenzo Nibali and Chris Froome.
“I can’t see him coming back, although you can’t ever say never in this sport. But even if he tries something crazy, he’s not going to survive, because he’s showing he can’t survive on the climbs, so it’s highly likely that he’ll be distanced again on Friday’s stage,” Ellingworth explained.