Bradley Wiggins has questioned Richard Carapaz’s focus after he lost several minutes to rival Jonas Vingegaard at the Tour de France.
Team Ineos’ Carapaz and Team Jumbo–Visma Vingegaard are the closest riders to yellow jersey holder Tadej Pogacar.
Team UAE’s rider appears poised to do a Tour de France double, but Wiggins was bemused by Carapaz’s behaviour before Stage 20 when there was just a six second gap between him and Vingegaard.
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“I was watching a lot of the riders at the start house before you go up to the ramp. Carapaz was sat there and he looked terrified,” Wiggins said on his Eurosport podcast from France.
“He might look like that anyway, I don’t spend a lot of time around him. I noticed he poured water on his leg, which I would have hated. Maybe an anxiety thing.
“Riders pour water on their wrists because it cools your core temperature done. But to have water running down your legs and shorts, I wouldn’t have liked that before a time trial.
And then he got up and fist bumped Vingegaard next to him, as if to say good luck. I wouldn’t have done that as well. I’ve spoke about that a lot.
“It showed a defeatist attitude before he set off, he knew he wasn’t going to get those six seconds back. Subsequently he lost two minutes to Vingegaard.”
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“There’s psychological warfare going on, and it’s a moment you can really put your opponents off by not doing much,” Wiggins insisted.
“But by being friendly? It’s a bit like when you see footballers coming down the tunnel before the game, you don’t have to be fighty, or confrontational or aggressive but sometimes some things are better left unsaid.
To wish your opponent good luck before you set off when the gap is only six seconds, and he instigated it, if I’m sat there as Vingegaard, that says a lot to me.
Wiggins even criticised Team Ineos decision to not have a coach on the ground at the Tour de France, which is common across the cycling teams.
“If I was in a coaching role or mentoring role for someone like that, I would tell them to keep their focus. That straight away is a lack of focus,” he said.
“Tells me straight away that’s a lack of focus and that’s why he lost two minutes.”
“It’s the loneliest place to be as an athlete. Sometimes you need someone there to say ‘come on, don’t start f***ing punching his fist. Forget about him’,” Wiggins added.
F*** marginal gains, that’s just a buzzword. It’s about getting the basics right.
While Wiggins might not have been convinced by Carapaz’s mentality, the former Tour de France winner did praise the rider for practically rescuing Team Ineos’ Tour after Geraint Thomas was injured.
“To be fair to Carapaz he’s saved Ineos’ Tour for them,” Wiggins conceded.
“It’s not a success, that’s not the level of success because they’re accustomed to winning it.
“But they did have to change because let’s not forget Geraint Thomas was the leader of this race and had that accident, wasn’t the same since.
“Special mention to G for getting through this race. So Ineos have pulled it together and come away with the podium and for Carapaz individually that’s his second grand tour podium.”
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