Ineos signs Giro winner Carapaz to three-year contract

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Reigning Giro d’Italia champion Richard Carapaz, currently finishing his third season with Movistar, will join Ineos next season on a three-year deal, his new team has announced.

“I believe I will fit into this group well and race to my full potential over the coming years,” said Carapaz, Ecuador’s first Grand Tour champion, in Ineos’s announcement of the signing.

The long-expected news comes on the same day as the official announcement of another major Movistar departure, as current Vuelta a España leader Nairo Quintana was confirmed to be heading to Arkéa-Samsic on Monday as well.

Carapaz, 26, showed signs of his potential with a strong 2018 campaign, winning a stage and finishing fourth at the Giro, before emerging as a star at the 2019 Giro. Entering the race as one of three nominal co-leaders for Movistar alongside Mikel Landa and Andrey Amador, Carapaz won the fourth stage, soared into the pink jersey with another victory on stage 14, and held on through the final week to secure the overall title.

The crowd welcomes Giro d’Italia winner Richard Carapaz into the Verona arena. Photo: IB/RB/Cor Vos © 2019

After a strong ride to third overall at the Vuelta a Burgos last month, he was expected to start the Vuelta a España as a part of Movistar’s trademark multi-pronged attack, but a crash in the week prior forced him to scrap those plans.

At Ineos, Carapaz will find himself surrounded by fellow Grand Tour stars, with three Tour de France champions on the roster in Egan Bernal, Geraint Thomas, and Chris Froome. With his comparatively young age, however, Carapaz will be a rider for Ineos to build around for the future alongside reigning Tour champ Bernal.

“We have been long time admirers of his talents as a bike rider and have followed his development closely over a number of years, as we have always marked him out as a potential member of our Team,” said Ineos team principal Dave Brailsford.

“He is obviously a fantastic climber but also has great versatility as he showed at the Giro earlier this year. He is still relatively young and I have no doubt he can develop and improve even further at Team Ineos.”

Carapaz’s departure, along with that of Quintana and Mikel Landa, who is headed to Bahrain-Merida, will leave Movistar looking for new riders to take up the Grand Tour leadership mantle. The squad is hoping new signing Enric Mas, currently with Deceuninck-Quick-Step, can develop into a GC star to replace the big names the team is losing this transfer season.

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