It’s the golden hour for Richard Carapaz…
The 28-year-old Ecuadorian cyclist brought home the gold medal for Ecuador in the men’s Olympics road race at the 2020 Tokyo Games on Saturday in a pulsating finale that saw the climber drop his main rivals on the last two climbs.
It’s the first medal and gold medal for his native country, as well as the first medal and gold medal for any Latino athlete at the games.
Carapaz made his first acceleration with 25km to go in response to a move from Brandon McNulty (USA) before dropping his breakaway companion and soloing to the win with 5.8km to go.
Carapaz held onto his winning lead over the final finishing circuit on the Fuji Speedway to take the biggest one-day win of his career.
The 2019 Giro d’Italia winner finished with more than enough time to soak up the applause from the home crowd after six hours of brutal racing in hot and humid conditions.
In the sprint for the silver and bronze medals, Wout van Aert (Belgium) narrowly held off the late charge from Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar (Slovenia).
podium and a place in the history books with a gold medal for him and for Ecuador.
“It is incredible to see your flag as the top one, and to have this medal,” said Carapaz, who became his country’s second-ever Olympic champion after walker Jefferson Pérez in 1996.
“I simply waited for my moment. It was a bit of a crazy day, and a very hard race. I had to be patient as the selections were being made and wait for the right moment – that for me was the most complicated part.”