Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) has brushed off the consequences of his fall late on stage 3 at the Vuelta a España after the Ecuadorian crashed in the build-up to the sprint finale in Breda.
Carapaz was one of the GC riders unlucky enough to suffer a crash even before the race had reached Spain.
Lotto-Soudal outsider Stef Cras was badly injured on stage 2 and Mike Woods (Israel Premier Tech) fell early on stage 3 and was also unable to continue. However, Carapaz was quickly back on his bike and guided back up to the peloton by his teammates Carlos Rodriguez and Pavel Sivakov.
At the finish line having wended his way through the sizable crowds to the team buses, Carapaz did not look at all injured and he went calmly through his stage 3 post-race warm-down talking and even joking a little with his teammates.
“I’m fine, it was quite a quick stage and a little bit dangerous, but we got through it ok and now we’re heading for Spain, which is territory we know a little better,” Carapaz told reporters.
“Sometimes the stupidest crashes are the worst, but this time I was fine, nothing bad happened at all, it was just a scare,” Carapaz commented. “ The team could get me back up to the peloton fairly quickly. The important thing is that I’m feeling fine and we’re heading for Spain.”
Carapaz said that the crash happened when he was traveling at speed and his bike skidded unexpectedly. “But there’s no pain, nothing at all,” he said, “the only thing that happened was I got off my bike fairly quickly.”
Unlike Alejandro Valverde, who criticised the Dutch stages as overly dangerous, and who also fell close to the finish but 24 hours earlier, Carapaz dismissed the idea that the stages in the Netherlands had been anything out of the ordinary.
“At the end of the day, all the Grand Tours have a few stages like this,” he said. “Sometimes you just have to get through them as best you can.”
Carapaz goes into the Vuelta’s first rest day in eighth place overall, 16 seconds down on arch-rival Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), and with his GC options intact.