Richard Carapaz: I’m starting from zero but the Tour de France is my ambition

The reigning Olympic champion talks exclusively to GCN about his goals for 2024, including another go at the Tour de France GC

Clock00:00, Friday 8th December 2023
Richard Carapaz is ready for 2024 after a chaotic 2023 season

© Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images

Richard Carapaz is ready for 2024 after a chaotic 2023 season

Richard Carapaz (EF Education-EasyPost) is eyeing a return to the Tour de France in 2024 with the Olympic champion confident that he can challenge for the overall.

The former Giro d’Italia champion crashed out on stage 1 of this year’s Tour de France but finished third overall in 2021 behind Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma).

Speaking exclusively to GCN at the EF Education-EasyPost training camp in Spain, the 30-year-old said that the Tour would be his primary target in 2024, while team boss Jonathan Vaughters also hinted at a possible tilt at the Ardennes Classics in April.

“In my mind, it’s the Tour de France. The Tour de France is the big goal for next year,” Carapaz told GCN.

“This season the race wasn’t good for me but I want to try again in 2024 for GC. This year it was different for me with the crash and I’m starting at zero. I will forget the past but if I have good legs, then I can try for a good position overall.”

The Tour de France is set to attract the best GC riders in the world with Vinegaard and Pogačar joined by Primož Roglič and Remco Evenepoel.

Carapaz told GCN he was excited by the idea of such a mouth-watering GC clash, and while rosters and schedules at EF Education-EasyPost have yet to be stamped, Carapaz believes that he will have the best support in the peloton come July.

“I’m comfortable here, and there are opportunities for me. I don’t know the team that we’ll bring to the Tour de France but for me, it’ll be the best team in the race,” he said.

“We’ll have lots of riders in good condition. Neilson Powless is really good, Andrey Amador is a really good rider. Then there’s someone like Jonas Rutsch from the Classic and Stefan Bissegger. We have good riders, and some of the best in the peloton.”

The EF Education-EasyPost training camp is set to conclude in the coming days but it has been a valuable experience for the men’s and women’s rosters. Both teams shared the same facilities and mixed during training rides and meal times. Carapaz saw it as a valuable exercise in team bonding as he builds his form heading into the new year.

“This camp has been really good and different in a good way because we’re with the women’s team. This is my first time being with the entire team and it’s been a good experience for both the men’s and women’s squads,” he said.

“This is my second week back in training. After the Pan American Games, I stopped for four weeks but now I’m back on the bike. It’s been good for me, and I’ve got a new plan and training for next year. At the moment I’m taking each training day one at a time and then my first race is likely to be the national championships. Then, it’s not 100 per cent, but I’ll probably do the Tour Colombia.”

Team boss Jonathan Vaughters signed Carapaz on a three-year contract from Ineos at the start of 2023. The American holds a huge amount of faith in his team leader and is aware that bad luck and crashes seriously dented Carapaz’s debut campaign with the team. Vaughters acknowledged that Carapaz was on track and that he had impressed since coming to Europe for the team event.

“Richie is in a much better plan than he was at the camp this time last year,” Vaughters told GCN. “He was exhausted last year from the season before and then he had his tonsils taken out. That took him months to properly recover. At this camp, I see a Richard who is looking to prove himself again. He’s a lot sharper than he was last year.”

Vaughters also stated that Carapaz would be given a leadership role at the Tour next year but he also stressed that the Olympic road champion would need to impress ahead of July for the team to fully back a GC challenge.

“At the Tour de France, he will be our point person and whether we ride a full-on GC race or we chase stage wins. That’s TBD. Richie does need to prove himself first in some of the weeklong stage races and see how he can stack up against the [Jonas] Vingegaard and [Tadej] Pogačars of this world,” Vaughters said.

“He has that self-belief and I hope he’s correct. We’re going to have to see that in action to have the team ride GC at the Tour because we’re not a team that’s going to chase around eighth place at the Tour. That’s not our ambition. Ultimately our goal in 2024 is to win races, not win points.”

Related Content

Link to 5 unmissable stages of the 2024 Tour de France
The fearsome Col du Galibier appears shockingly early in the 2024 Tour de France

5 unmissable stages of the 2024 Tour de France

Mountains, gravel, and final-day drama: Here's our pick of the most promising stages of the upcoming Tour de France

Clock
Link to Analysing Visma-Lease a Bike’s Tour de France long list
Jonas Vingegaard and his then Jumbo-Visma teammates have been triumphant at the Tour de France for the past two years

Analysing Visma-Lease a Bike’s Tour de France long list

With Jonas Vingegaard on the comeback trail and Sepp Kuss suffering from illness, the team still has plenty of question marks looming before July

Clock
Link to Should Tadej Pogačar be worried by Remco Evenepoel and Primož Roglič at the Tour de France? - GCN Racing News Show
YouTube video undefined

Should Tadej Pogačar be worried by Remco Evenepoel and Primož Roglič at the Tour de France? - GCN Racing News Show

The Critérium du Dauphiné came to a conclusion at the weekend with Roglič as the winner, but Dan Lloyd can't see him winning the Tour, here's why

Clock
Link to Adam Yates using Tour de Suisse as final test before Tour de France
Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates)

Adam Yates using Tour de Suisse as final test before Tour de France

British rider will back up Tadej Pogačar later this month but Suisse offers the chance to test his form and fitness

Clock
Subscribe to the GCN Newsletter

Get the latest, most entertaining and best informed news, reviews, challenges, insights, analysis, competitions and offers - straight to your inbox