This Wednesday the Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz will race the Flèche Wallonne with EF Education-EasyPost. The Olympic road champion in Tokyo 2020 will be one of the main cards of the American team for the historic Belgian classic, in which he was ninth in 2021.

The ‘Locomotora del Carchi’ comes from participating in the 58th edition of Amstel Gold Race, in which he finished 51st, 1:56 behind the winner, the British Thomas Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers), after 35 days without competing at the highest level.

The rest of the American club’s lineup was completed by Australian Harry Sweeny, Denmark’s Mikkel Honoré, Ireland’s Ben Healy and Archie Ryan and Great Britain’s Owain Doull and James Shaw.

Carapaz was sidelined from racing as a result of the heavy crash he suffered on March 10 in the seventh and final stage of Tirreno-Adriatico in Italy. Once he recovered from the blows, especially in his knees, the Carapaz rider was back on the starting line and was in good shape.

Richie’ was seen several times at the head of the peloton of favorites in the Amstel Gold Race, and even worked for teammates Ben Healy and Marijn van den Berg. “It’s been a very hard race. I’m happy, I made a good start after not racing for so long. The feeling has been very good,” Carapaz said after the Dutch joust.

“The idea was to work for Van den Berg, who was going very well for the sprint, but a group got into us and it was impossible to close it. I tried to collaborate with the team as much as I could. It’s a process, you have to go little by little,” added the Carchense, in statements published on his official website.

In any case, the most positive thing was that the Ecuadorian Olympic champion gained race rhythm for his next challenges of the season.

Different route for this year in Flèche Wallonne

With the change this 2024, one could almost say that the Flèche Wallonne has become a ‘circuit race’. The Wall of Huy, the famous Chemin des Chapelles, with its 1300 meters at 9.6% and those maximum gradients around 20% that constitute the most famous hill sprint of the whole season, will now be passed four times.

The race changes its physiognomy quite a lot. The Côte de Cherave disappears from the circuit, which made the approach and passage through Huy quite hard, and the circuit therefore becomes more open. There is ‘only’ one more climb: Ereffe (another four passes), 2 100m at 5% with another steep climb after that before descending towards the city – the last one at 13 km from the end – for the decisive climb.

Source: El Comercio y Revista Mundo Ciclístico