Richard Carapaz signs with EF Education-EasyPost
Olympic champion and Giro d’Italia winner set to join team in 2023
EF Education-EasyPost are proud to announce that Richard Carapaz will join the team in 2023.
Arguably the most accomplished cyclist Ecuador has produced, Richard has ridden in the WorldTour since 2016. Last year he won gold at the Tokyo Olympics and claimed the overall title at the Tour de Suisse. In addition to winning the 2019 Giro d’Italia, he has stood on the podium at all three of the grand tours. Richard is the current national time trial champion of Ecuador.
Despite such a lengthy list of race results, Richard is not done yet.
“When you conquer one thing, you want more. I’m one of those people who wants more,” Richard says. “There are still things I haven’t achieved. I’d like to try to win another grand tour. A life goal has always been to win the Tour de France. It’s something I will fight for. I know it’s possible. I know what my potential is and what I can do, what I can achieve, and I’m fighting for this dream. Every day I get up with this dream that I have to try for. When I first started to ride we knew about the grand tours. Eventually I thought I could win the Giro d’Italia and I’ve done that and now I’m thinking about the Tour de France.”
Richard got his start as a kid in the village of Playa Alta. A former professional cyclist who had raced in Europe set up a club and Richard decided to sign up.
“It wasn’t about cycling as a job then, it was simply something we did. We joined this cycling program which happened to be in my town and we all signed up for it — Caicedo, me, Cepeda — and we all turned out to be professional cyclists from the same school. I started the sport when I was 16. Who knew that it would be my job, let alone that I’d have the talent to be a cyclist?” he asks.
At the time, there was no clear path to get from Playa Alta, Ecuador to racing in Europe. The 29-year-old credits his family’s support.
“My parents have always been there,” Richard says without hesitation. “When nobody believed in me, they were the only ones who believed. When I wanted to be a cyclist, there were limited opportunities in my country and they knew that if I wanted to achieve my dreams, I had to go to Europe. For me that was an important step in my life because there I could learn so much more. They had the same motivation for me to be here, too. We’ve all made sacrifices so I want to do this well because I know that the time I’ve spent away from them has to be worth it, it has to be for something, something like the Tour de France.”
"A team like this that wants to win a grand tour like me. This is something we will have to work a lot for because this is something that takes a lot of work, a lot of dedication, and that’s what this team has."
While Richard looks to the future when he considers his own goals, he also looks to the future in a broader sense. He loves both Ecuador as well as cycling and wants to make sure that more of the cycling talent in his homeland has the opportunity to develop at the highest level.
“It’s really different, the cycling culture in Europe compared to Ecuador,” he says. “The history isn’t as long in Ecuador but people have always been stepping on the pedals there. Honestly, it’s not as well known there, people don’t know about the races. In Ecuador, many people have the idea that cycling is a sport you do as a hobby and it’s not a profession in itself. In reality, it’s a new profession for our country I think. Above all, I think, for the whole sport, you have to see the big picture. Cycling is new in Ecuador. Yes, there have been cyclists in past years but they didn’t get to this level. Caicedo, Cepeda, we are some of the first in history to be from our country to become professionals. We hope it’s a positive change for people so there will be more Ecuadorian cyclists.”
The decision to join EF Education-EasyPost was a simple one for Richard.
“This is a team with a lot of ambition and many things they want to achieve. I’m a piece that can fit into the team really well. I’m motivated and was looking for a team with the same objectives as me. I have the focus and want to try to win the Tour de France and I think that’s something we can achieve here together. The team wants to reach for its goals and that’s something really valuable to me. A team like this that wants to win a grand tour like me. This is something we will have to work a lot for because this is something that takes a lot of work, a lot of dedication, and that’s what this team has. I’m motivated to join the team to fight for this dream and the team has confidence in me so we’re going to achieve all that we can together,” Richard says.
EF Education-EasyPost CEO Jonathan Vaughters is excited to welcome Richard to the team.
“Carapaz has always been one of my favorite riders,” he says, “and not just because he wins. Carapaz wins with intelligence, timing, aggressiveness, and grit. He won the Giro because he was really smart and he attacked at exactly the right moment. He was incredibly gritty and willing to take a risk to do it, and he pulled it off. I appreciate that. At the Olympics, same thing. He timed his attack perfectly to win the gold medal. For the style of our team, Richard fits in perfectly, because we need a leader who can win races using crafty tactics and not just raw horsepower. That is what Richard brings to us and we are really excited to help him as much as we can to exploit his aggressive and crafty racing style.”
With fellow Ecuadorians Jonathan Caicedo and Alexander Cepeda on the team, in some ways, riding with EF Education-EasyPost is something of a reunion for Richard.
“I know them well, especially Caicedo,” Richard says. “We’ve known each other for many years because we grew up in the same cycling program so I’ve known him and we’ve trained together over the years. Actually, I was speaking with him a couple of months ago, with Jonathan, because there was the possibility that I’d come to the team so we met up to talk. I think it’s been seven years, more or less, since we were on the same team. We were both on a Colombian team then. And then I said to him, what a coincidence in life that we’re going to meet again on the same team. We were joking but now it’s real. Honestly, it’s really exciting. For me to be on a team with him who I’ve known for so many years and also with Alexander, too, who I’ve known since he was really young. I’ve seen his progress, how it’s going, so for me to share a team with him is fantastic because I know he’s still in the process of coming up and I can help him out a lot. For me, I always love being with the guys I’ve known our whole lives and to be on the same team makes me feel really at home.”
We think you’ll feel right at home with our whole squad, Richard. We can’t wait for 2023 to get underway!