Carapaz to fight all the way to Verona after grabbing pink jersey

Courmayeur (Italy) (AFP) –


Richard Carapaz vowed to fight all the way to win the Giro d'Italia on Saturday after shooting to the top of overall standings with an impressive solo summit finish victory to take stage 14 and the pink jersey.

Movistar's Ecuadorian climber edged ahead of Primoz Roglic in the standings after breaking from the chief contenders on the Giro's toughest hill yet, and after the win a confident Carapaz, 25, threw down the gauntlet to his principal rivals.

"I was thinking just now, it seems only yesterday that I was at home in Ecuador playing on a toy bike. Now I'm here wearing the Maglia Rosa," said an elated Carapaz.

"We'll try and keep the jersey and defend it all the way to Verona."

Britain's Simon Yates was second after attacking on the last kilometre, gaining some redemption for earlier disappointments and climbing to ninth overall, 5min 28sec off the lead.

New leader Carapaz said there was no problem in his team where Mikel Landa would normally be seen as the team leader and who stands fifth at 2min 50sec, and was instead in dreamland after winning his second stage in this year's Giro.

"I worked so hard for this, it's a real dream come true," added Carapaz at the winning post.

"I felt good this morning. We knew the altitude was good for me. I gave it everything because I knew the entire Giro was at stake."

- Nibali role -

Man-to-beat Roglic and two-time winner Vincenzo Nibali kept a close eye on each other all day with the Italian testing the Slovenian with a daredevil descent on the penultimate climb, the Colle San Carlo.

It was on that hill that overnight leader Jan Polanc ran out of gas and gave up the pink jersey and lost almost eight minutes on the day.

The win and the show of power with which it was achieved, marks out Carapaz as a contender after he came fourth in the Giro last year.

He now leads Roglic by 7sec while Nibali is third at 1min 47sec.

The Bahrain Merida sports director Brent Copeland was in upbeat mood after the race when asked about his captain Nibali's chances.

"There's a great deal to look forward to. We are going to have a role to play here and there are a number of stages which suit Vincenzo coming up," said Copeland.

Sunday's stage is one of the longest on the Giro at 232km, starting with a 160km flat section before the race swings into a series of short but challenging climbs and descents which pundits feel may suit Nibali.