Tokyo Olympics: Carapaz lands cycling road race gold as Tour winner Pogacar takes bronze

By Sports Desk July 24, 2021

Ecuador's Richard Carapaz powered away to Olympic gold medal glory in the Tokyo 2020 men's road race.

After finishing third in the general classification at the Tour de France, Carapaz produced a stunning ride just six days later in Japan

He crossed the line one minute and seven seconds clear of a distant chasing pack.

Silver in a sprint finish was secured by Belgium's Wout Van Aert and, barely the width of a tyre further back, bronze went to Slovenia's Tour champion Tadej Pogacar.

Carapaz, 28, adds the Olympic title to his 2019 Giro d'Italia triumph, and he slapped his handlebar, punched the air and clapped himself as he crossed the line.

The 234-kilometre race took in the lower slopes of Mount Fuji and a daunting ascent of Mikuni Pass that featured an average gradient of 10.6 per cent and sections that topped 20 per cent.

The riders finished on the Fuji International Speedway, in front of a crowd – being outside Tokyo, a limited number of spectators were allowed to watch the action.

Former Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas was involved in an early crash with Great Britain team-mate Tao Geoghegan Hart and subsequently abandoned the race.

Thomas later tweeted: "Think I must have done something bad in a previous life... Freak crash, Tao lost his front wheel and decked it in front of me. I had nowhere to go, other than the floor as well."

The Netherlands' Bauke Mollema was edged out of the medals in the sprint, finishing fourth, with fifth going to Canada's Michael Woods and sixth to American Brandon McNulty, who had joined Carapaz in a two-man break in the closing stages, only to drop off the champion's pace.

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  • Giro d'Italia: Ciccone claims emotional stage-15 win as Carapaz retains overall lead Giro d'Italia: Ciccone claims emotional stage-15 win as Carapaz retains overall lead

    Giulio Ciccone broke down in tears after claiming his "most beautiful victory" on stage 15 of the Giro d'Italia, as Richard Carapaz retained the pink jersey ahead of Jai Hindley.    Ciccone, who has suffered an injury-blighted two years, made his decisive move with 19km remaining, breaking clear of Hugh Carthy and Santiago Buitrago on the final uphill stretch towards Cogne, as he recorded his third Giro stage win.   The triumph represents his first since 2019, when he also won the race's mountains classification, and the 27-year-old declared it his finest moment after crossing the line in Northern Italy.   "This was my most beautiful victory," said Ciccone. "It's even better than the yellow jersey in the Tour de France or my first stage win at the Giro.   "It's been a really difficult period. When you try and win and nothing happens, it's always more difficult and it really tries your mental strength. I didn't feel like myself again, but I kept waiting and waiting and I found it today."

    Buitrago took second at 1 minute 31 seconds behind the Trek-Segafredo rider, while Antonio Pedrero was third at 2:19 behind the Italian, with Carthy in fourth.

    Meanwhile, Carapaz retained the overall lead despite crashing with 171km remaining, being one of around a dozen riders to be brought down when the back of the peloton came to a standstill after a collision, with Saturday's stage 14 winner Simon Yates also hitting the deck.

    But the 2019 Giro winner recovered to finish the stage and retain a seven-second advantage over Hindley, with Joao Almeida 30 seconds behind the Ecuadorian, while Koen Bouwman edged ahead of Diego Rosa in the mountain classifications. 

    Ciccone's finest hour

    Ciccone has experienced success at the Giro d'Italia before, claiming a stage-10 win back in 2016 and a stage-16 victory during an impressive showing back in 2019. But the Italian missed the 2020 edition of the race after testing positive for COVID-19 before withdrawing after a crash the following year, and was overcome with emotion after ending two frustrating years by claiming an impressive triumph.

    STAGE RESULT 

    1. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) 4:37:41
    2. Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) + 1:31
    3. Antonio Pedrero (Spa/Movistar) +2:19 
    4. Hugh Carthy (EF Education-EasyPost) +3:09
    5. Martijn Tusveld (Team DSM) +4:36

    CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

    General Classification

    1. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 63:06:57
    2. Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:07
    3. Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) +0:30

    Points Classification

    1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 238 
    2. Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 121
    3. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) 171

    King of the Mountains

    1. Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma) 109
    2. Diego Rosa (EOLO-Kometa) 92
    3. Jai Hindly (Bora-Hansgrohe) 62

  • Giro d'Italia: Yates not satisfied despite thrilling stage 14 win as Carapaz takes maglia rosa Giro d'Italia: Yates not satisfied despite thrilling stage 14 win as Carapaz takes maglia rosa

    Simon Yates did not want to put "a downer" on his stage 14 victory at the Giro d'Italia but is far from satisfied with his overall race. 

    Yates was seen as one of the contenders for the maglia rosa heading into the first Grand Tour of 2022 but the Briton is way down in 17th place in the general classification standings, 18 minutes and 44 seconds off new race leader Richard Carapaz. 

    Team BikeExchange-Jayco rider Yates, who won the individual time trial in Budapest on stage two, finished 15 seconds ahead of second-placed Jai Hindley on a day that threw the race wide open. 

    Yates latched onto a chasing pack that caught up with INEOS Grenadiers rider and 2019 Giro winner Carapaz, who had made a break with 28 kilometres remaining in Saturday's 147km route from Santena to Turin – the first of four consecutive mountain stages. 

    Hindley and Vincenzo Nibali, who is racing in his final Giro, were the initial chasers, but Yates – whose GC hopes were all but ended when he dropped 11 minutes on the Blockhaus climb on stage nine – had the momentum to cruise to victory. 

    While Yates was delighted with a sixth Giro stage win of his career, he could not help but be frustrated by being so far off the pace overall. 

    "I mean, not to put a downer on the day, but I came here to win the race," the 29-year-old said. "For me, it's another stage. I have five already and it's number six. 

    "I hope the legs stay as good as today. Today was a really big effort, not just for me but for everybody. The gaps are enormous, so if this heat sticks around it's going to be a very hard final week." 

    A bad day for Lopez

    Juan Pedro Lopez wore pink for 10 straight days but Saturday's stage was always likely to prove crucial and he went from holding a 12-second lead to ninth place, four minutes and four seconds behind Carapraz. 

    The experienced Ecuadorian attacked at just the right time for the GC standings, even if he was unable to hold on for the stage win.  

    STAGE RESULT

    1. Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) 3:43:44 
    2. Jai Hindley (BORA-hansgrohe) +0:15 
    3. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) +0:15 
    4. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Qazaqstan Team) +0:15 
    5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) +0:28 

    CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS   

    General Classification  

    1. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 58:21:28 
    2. Jai Hindley (BORA-hansgrohe) +0:07 
    3. Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) +0:30 

    Points Classification

    1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 238 
    2. Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 121 
    3. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) 117 

    King of the Mountains  

    1. Diego Rosa (Eolo-Kometa) 92 
    2. Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma) 69 
    3. Jai Hindley (BORA-hansgrohe) 62 

  • Giro d'Italia: Demare clinches sprint victory to complete hat-trick of stage wins Giro d'Italia: Demare clinches sprint victory to complete hat-trick of stage wins

    Arnaud Demare won a third stage at the 2022 Giro d'Italia after he held off Phil Bauhaus and Mark Cavendish in a thrilling sprint finish.

    Demare won stages five and six and made it a hat-trick as he powered across the line first in Cuneo following a 150km route from Sanremo on Friday.

    That keeps Demare top of the points standings and comfortably in possession of the maglia ciclamino, which he won in 2020 and looks all set to regain this time around, with Cavendish some 117 points behind.

    The Frenchman was part of the chasing pack that caught a four-rider breakaway in the final section of stage 13, and it was he who launched the final sprint.

    Demare had just enough power to edge across the line ahead of Bauhaus to his right and Cavendish to his left.

    "It was an incredible day. They really resisted at the front. We had all the elements ready and everybody worked," said Demare.

    "We were really riding hard. The guys did a great job. It was a monstrous lead-out. With 1.5km to go we had to go up that climb hard. I did as strong a sprint as I could."

    Juan Pedro Lopez remains wearing pink for another day, as he maintained his 12-second lead over Richard Carapaz and Joao Almeida.

    Bardet bows out

    It was a bad day for Romain Bardet, who was only 14 seconds shy of Lopez in the general classification standings when he fell ill during stage 12 on Thursday.

    Unfortunately for Bardet and Team DSM, the Frenchman's condition worsened overnight and he has had to abandon the race.

    Team-mate Romain Combaud said: "There was only one week left. It's horrible for us. He is a great champion.

    "My role today was to stay with him. We said we would have an easy day, and he would get better tonight. But with the heat it was just too much for him."

    STAGE RESULT

    1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 3:18:16
    2. Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain-Victorious) same time
    3. Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Viny) same time
    4. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) same time
    5. Alberto Dainese (Team DSM) same time

    CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS   

    General Classification  

    1. Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) 54:37:23
    2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) +0:12
    3. Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) +0:12

    Points Classification

    1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 238
    2. Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Viny) 121
    3. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) 117

    King of the Mountains  

    1. Diego Rosa (Eolo-Kometa) 83
    2. Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma) 69
    3. Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe) 43

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