In a demanding mountainous course, Richard Carapaz (EF Education-EasyPost) emerged victorious in the third edition of the Mercan’ Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes, a category 1.1 competition held on Tuesday over 169.2 kilometers between the French towns of Puget-Théniers and valberg.
The Ecuadorian rider who responded to the sensational work of his team, especially the Colombian Diego Camargo, beat the Austrian Felix Gall (AG2R Citroën Team) and the Belgian Lennert Van Eetvelt (Lotto Dstny) by 12 seconds, who entered the finish line in the second and third position.
The Olympic champion made the difference on the climb to the Col de Valberg (12 km at 7.3%), when he attacked the group of favorites to end up taking victory number 34 in his record.
The Colombian presence in this test was carried out by Diego Camargo (EF Education-EasyPost), who delivered an outstanding performance as a gregarious, occupying the 33rd place, more than 13 minutes behind his teammate.
The leak of the day was starred by Fabien Grellier (TotalEnergies), Pascal Eenkhoorn (Lotto Dstny), Xavier Cañellas (Electro Hiper Europa), Alejandro Ropero ((Electro Hiper Europa), Gleb Brussenskiy (Astana Qazaqstan Team), Jordi López (Kern Team Pharma), Mathis Le Berre (Team Arkéa Samsic) and Rasmus Søjberg Pedersen (CIC U Nantes Atlantique), but all were caught by the peloton in the final kilometres.
Richard Carapaz, who succeeded Danish Jakob Fuglsang in the French race, got his first victory of the season on European soil, after winning the national road championship in Ecuador at the beginning of the year.
Declarations of Carapaz
“I’m very happy. I was able to train well at home. I have good shape. The team behaved very well today. My teammates worked hard and we had the race under control the whole time.” said Carapaz in an interview with Cycling Pro Net.
For the Ecuadorian, his victory in the French test is a confidence boost. In the first months of 2023, things did not go well, also because he had an interrupted preparation due to an operation on his tonsils.
“This is not only a confidence boost for me, but also for the team. At the beginning of the season it was still not good, but I worked hard and I wanted to get a good result here. This is good for confidence”, added the Ecuadorian runner.
Carapaz, who hopes to shine in the Tour de France next month, is now targeting the Critérium du Dauphiné. This important French race that will serve as preparation for the ‘Grand Bouclé’. “The Dauphiné is a beautiful race. The ambition is to perform well. Now it is important to prepare well”, Carapaz concluded.
Final podium of the Mercan’ Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes 2023. (Photo © Lotto Dstny)
Mercan’Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes 2023 (1.1)
1 Richard Carapaz EF Education-EasyPost 4:47:59
2 Felix Gall AG2R Citroën Team 0:12
3 Lennert Van Eetvelt Lotto Dstny 0:38
4 Lenny Martinez Groupama – FDJ ,,
5 Cristián Rodríguez Team Arkéa Samsic