TdF Daily | Stage 3 | Richard Carapaz sprints into the maillot jaune

Ecuadorian takes over the lead of the Tour de France with a brave sprint in Torino

July 1, 2024

Richard Carapaz sprinted into the lead of the Tour de France today in Torino.

Our Olympic champion from Ecuador seized the race's maillot jaune with a daring dash to the line down the Corse Unione Sovietica, after a powerful leadout from his EF Education-EasyPost teammates. Richard started the day tied for time after matching the GC favorites' attacks over the top of the Côte de San Luca yesterday in Bologna at the finish of stage two. With the overall rankings then to be decided by the riders' accumulated placings in previous stages, Richard wanted to go for yellow in the sprint, backed by our whole squad. If he could finish far enough ahead of Pogacar, Evenepoel, and Vingegaard in the sprint, yellow would be his.

For the first 200 kilometers, Richie and his teammates kept their cool, rolling across the Italian countryside in the peloton. As the race hotted up in the final hour, our boys came to the front, massed around Richie with one goal: the maillot jaune.

The peloton rode the last ten kilometers at a searing pace, as teams surged forward to the sprint. Our team did an amazing pull through the chaos of the final kilometers, with Marijn van den Berg shepherding him through the peloton.

Richard stayed safe in the final kilometer and rode across the line in 14th place, securing the yellow jersey and making a lifelong dream come true.

He kissed his maillot jaune on the podium. Richard is excited to wear it tomorrow across the Alps and into France.

Richard Carapaz

It's a dream for me because of all the respect I have for the Tour, to wear yellow at the best race in the world. I've always prepared so much for this and today to enjoy this moment is huge.

We knew we had the opportunity. We knew that the finish was the first sprint of the Tour. There were many nerves and we had to be very well positioned. There were many risks like crashing and the team did such an amazing job where they left me at one kilometer to go and from there I could defend myself as well as I could, and then Marijn and I just went full into the finish line. It was spectacular.

I worked so hard for this moment. It also means a lot to my country. There are not a lot of us in the WorldTour and I hope this helps cycling so it can grow in my country.

Tomorrow is a very hard day. It’s a very hard one to defend the jersey but I will try. Every day I feel better and I feel ready to defend the jersey.

Charly Wegelius, Sports Director

When we spoke with the riders before the race, we talked about one-percent chances and taking those, because there's going to come a stage in the race—I didn't expect it to come so soon—where I'll ask you to put a lot of energy and effort into something that looks like a one-percent chance of success. You really do have to look under every rock in the Tour to get results. You can't just play it safe. Today was one of those chances.

We looked at the rule book. We looked at the gaps, because if everybody's on the same time, they run it back to stage placings. So we made the plan based around that, with our feet on the ground, knowing that it was a long shot and that it depended on a lot of external factors that we couldn't control. We had some good engines for it. It was a real team effort and it's nice that it paid off.

It was the first sprint stage of the Tour and one that a lot of riders and a lot of teams in the race had been waiting for, so we knew it would be chaotic. And nobody hesitated. I think you can see that in how they raced.

The yellow jersey is one of the strongest symbols in cycling, the pinnacle. If you meet somebody who doesn't know anything about cycling, has never been close to the sport, they know what the yellow jersey is. It's a huge honor for the team and for Richie to have it and we're going to make the most of it.

Jonathan Vaughters, EF Pro Cycling founder and CEO

Everyone on the team, we all understand how absolutely talented Richie is. He’s just an incredibly talented bike rider. But obviously he had some pretty bad luck in his run in to the Tour de France. At the Tour de Suisse he had an infection and had to take antibiotics. It’s really amazing that he’s been able to recover from all of that and perform at the level that he has.

And then today we executed on kind of a crazy plan. Basically the whole team was giving Richie a leadout into a field sprint. We know he’s not going to win the field sprint but the hope was he would finish like 15th and that would be enough to break the tie and he'd be able to wear the yellow jersey. Frankly it’s rare when a plan works out like you want it to.

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