Richard Carapaz will make his debut in the pink jersey of EF Education-EasyPost on Sunday when he lines out at the Ecuadorian Championships road race, which takes place in his hometown of Tulcan.
The 29-year-old joined the team this winter after three seasons with Ineos Grenadiers. Carapaz spent two-and-a-half weeks off the bike after undergoing a tonsillectomy in mid-December, but he resumed training in early January.
“I think things are getting back to where they belong again, the body adapting to the bike again and returning to routine,” Carapaz said on his return to training.
Carapaz will be joined in Sunday’s road race by EF teammates Jonathan Caicedo and Jefferson Cepeda. Caicedo and Cepeda will also ride Friday’s individual time trial, though Carapaz will not take part in the event.
The remainder of Carapaz’s 2023 race schedule has yet to be outlined in full, though the Olympic champion has confirmed that the Tour de France will be the centrepiece of his season. He last participated in the race in 2021, placing third overall.
The organisers of the Trofeo Laigueglia, meanwhile, announced last month that Carapaz would participate in their race, which takes place on March 1, while the Ecuadorian has indicated that the Ardennes Classics would be a target in the Spring.
“I’m very excited to start the season at the National Championships,” Carapaz told a press conference in Quito last month (opens in new tab). “We have a big calendar planned in Europe, and we have a big objective planned as a team. We’re dreaming big.”
The 2019 Giro d’Italia winner came close to repeating the feat in last year’s race, losing the maglia rosa to Jai Hindley on the Fedaia on the penultimate day. Carapaz went on to land a hat-trick of mountain stages at the Vuelta a España, where he also won the king of the mountains classification.