Richard Carapaz wins the queen stage of the Tour Colombia
EF Pro Cycling lights up the final climb to Alto del Vino
“VICTORIA PARA LA LOCOMOTORA!!!”
Richard Carapaz swung his arms in the air as the Tour Colombia commentators shouted his name. Two thousand eight hundred meters up at the summit of the Alto del Vino, the Olympic champ from Ecuador crossed the finish line alone and finished the work his EF Education-EasyPost teammates hard started.
Pink jerseys exploded one after the other out of the elite group that raced for the win on the Queen stage of the Tour Colombia. Esteban Chaves attacked. Alexander Cepeda attacked. Rigoberto Urán marked moves. Richard Carapaz attacked, and then he attacked again and again, until no one could hold his wheel. Once he was free, no one was going to catch Richie.
“This one is special for me,” Carapaz said after celebrating with his teammates. “Obviously it is special for the team as well. We are all climbers, and knew we only had only one opportunity, so we had to take advantage of it as much as possible. We knew how hard the climb was. I’ve trained here. We studied the profile, the altitude, the road surface. It was a climb of one hour. I am very happy for myself, and for the team, because they collaborated to make this victory possible.”
Thousands of Colombian fans hammered on the barriers when Richie came into view on the finishing straight. The Tour Colombia is the closest thing they have to a grand tour and they knew they had just seen a masterclass.
On the final climb, Rigo, Esteban, Alexander, and Richie executed their plan perfectly.The whole peloton knew that the race was going to come down to the last mountain. The race course went down the Alto del Vino and then turned around and went straight back up it. With strength in numbers, we knew we would have to attack and attack to put our rivals on the ropes. And that’s what we did, until everyone cracked, except for Richard Carapaz.
“The day went perfectly,” said EF Education-EasyPost sports director Tejay van Garderen. “We couldn’t have planned it any better. We had four strong guys who were able to attack, attack, attack the yellow jersey. We came away with the stage win and we are super happy about that and now we have one more chance tomorrow to take this thing home.”
Tomorrow the GC will be decided on a brutal hilly course from Sopó to Bogotá. Expect huge crowds, as the Colombian capital welcomes the peloton. Richie now sits in second overall. Rigo is fourth. VAMOS! It will be tough to take the leader’s jersey, but we’re going to fight to the end.