Carapaz excited to begin season in Catalunya

21 Mar 2021

Carapaz excited to begin season in Catalunya

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Ahead of his first race of the season at Volta a Catalunya, we caught up with Richard Carapaz about his goals, epic off-season training and the Grenadier riding style.

How much are you looking forward to starting the season in Catalunya? 

I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve been training well in Ecuador and it’s been a long time since I finished last season in Madrid. I love riding my bike, so I can’t wait to pin my number on again. 

How exciting is the new racing style of the Grenadiers we've been seeing and how does this suit your style of riding? 

I’m enjoying a lot the start of the season. The team is performing really well. In Ecuador we have to wake up early to follow my teammates but I had the chance to see some incredible performances like Sosa’s, Ganna’s and Egan’s in France and Italy. I hope I can contribute soon too. 

This will be your first time focusing on the Tour de France as your main goal - have you prepared differently at all for this season? If so, how? 

Yes, the Tour is my main goal and it's always a big goal for the team. We want to get there fresh, so that’s why I m starting the season so late. My preparation has been good but I’m not at 100% because there is plenty of time for the Tour. The idea is to get rhythm in the first races like Catalunya and País Vasco and seek some good results, knowing that some riders are in better shape because they are riding since February. We will do our best! 

You will also tackle the Ardennes Classics this spring - how excited to try these races for the first time? 

I’ve always watched them on TV but I never had the chance to race them. So I’m excited to be there for the first time. Cycling is my passion, I love watching this kind of classics so you can imagine how I will feel when I’m there... people in Belgium turns crazy when these days arrive, so I can’t wait to race there. LBL is a monument and it’d be really special to get a good result there. I’m more a climber or GT rider than a Ardennes specialist but I feel I can perform well there. 
Richard Carapaz

Richard Carapaz

The idea is to get rhythm in the first races like Catalunya and País Vasco and seek some good results.
Richard Carapaz: Origins of a racer

Richard Carapaz: Origins of a racer

Describe how it's been preparing for a longer period than usual in Ecuador? 

Good. I feel really comfortable while training there. I have all the facilities I can ask for: police, friends supporting me in the car and Ecuadorians cheering me like if I was racing. It pushes me a lot! When I won the Giro, I made my preparation there, so I think that things that work should never be changed.

Do you think training at this altitude could give you an advantage later in the season?

I think so and not only the altitude but the general hardness of my training sessions. I’m used to training in cold and rain, and that hardness that I add to my training I'm sure it will pay off later.

You did some amazing rides at high altitude in Ecuador. Do you enjoy this and how does it help you prepare?

As I have said before, the most important thing is that I really like cycling and my job, so I am also in love with my country and being able to climb those volcanoes that are the most famous in Ecuador is something incredible. The truth is that it was one of the best days that I have had on the bike. 

How much fun did you have climbing on the volcano?

I enjoyed it a lot (and suffered a little bit). I can’t wait to do it again but for the next time I’d need the Grevil instead of the F12!

And did you expect the stats from your ride to be so popular on social media?

You helped on that sharing it. A lot of people shared it as well and asked for interviews. I’m glad because this action aroused a lot of interest in general in Europe, the United States and other countries, to come to Ecuador to cycle. That is something that makes me feel proud.

How important is it to enjoy your training?  

It's everything. Cycling is really hard, you have to sacrifice a lot: spending so many hours on dangerous roads, you can’t eat what you want at some times and spending a lot of time far from the family. You have to love it to enjoy the sport! But I do and cycling makes me feel good. 

You have spent a lot of time riding with Jhonatan Narvaez in Ecuador, how much did you enjoy training with a fellow Grenadier? 

Jhonatan is a great mate, the truth is that we were born close to each other but we lived for about two hours away and we hardly ever trained together. This year I was lucky enough to go for a few days to Ibarra where he lives and we were training very well for a few weeks. Even he paid for two dinners! The truth is that we have very good chemistry and when he went to Europe we missed him a lot but I'm very happy to have trained with him. He is a great teammate, a great cyclist and a great friend.

And how impressed have you been with Jhonatan’s start to the season?

Really impressed but not surprised. When I was training with him I already saw that he was in very good shape and we all know the quality that he has and how well he can perform at those classics. At the end they are races in which being in good shape matters, but it is more important to be lucky. I am very happy for him and I wish him the best for the rest of the season.