The climber Richard Carapaz has been training at altitude in advance of his season debut at March’s Volta a Catalunya.
That’s no surprise, considering that pro riders always spend time riding on the Tenerife peaks or in the Alps, but the Ecuadorian has taken it to a whole new level this week.
In his home country of Ecuador, riding at an altitude far above the climbs of Europe, the 2019 Giro d’Italia champion has been preparing. His Ineos team shared pictures of Richard Carapaz riding the gravel roads along the side of the Cotopaxi Volcano in the Andes on social media.
At an altitude of 4,800 metres, Richard Carapaz was riding on a volcano, which is the second highest peak in Ecuador at 5,897 metres. By contrast, the road around Mount Teide in Tenerife peaks at 2,356 metres, while the Cime de la Bonette at 2,802 metres is the highest road used in a Grand Tour.
The 27-year-old spent his training on home roads in northern Ecuador at the beginning of 2021, although his latest challenge brought him off the road, some 50 km south of the capital, Quito. On the active volcano, however, Richard Carapaz was in no danger; the last eruption ended in January 2016.
Last week, Richard Carapaz, who finished second in last season’s Vuelta a España, spent time practising with teammate Jhonathan Narváez until moving south to train near Chimborazo’s dormant volcano.
This week, Narváez returned to Europe to make his Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var season debut as part of a strong squad featuring Tao Geoghegan Hart, Geraint Thomas, and Tom Pidcock.
Richard Carapaz, meanwhile, will continue his training for a while longer yet before heading to Europe to kick off his season at the Volta a Catalunya. He’ll then take on Itzulia Basque Country and the Ardennes Classics before building up to a Tour de France bid with the Critérium du Dauphiné.
This July will see Richard Carapaz ride the Tour for the second time after his debut last season. He’ll be joined by Giro champion Geoghegan Hart and 2018 winner Thomas, among others, while 2019 winner Egan Bernal is aiming for the Giro d’Italia.