Ecuadorian climber from Movistar Team completes decisive Violeo stage with no setbacks, conquers his maiden stagerace victory as a pro in Europe. Fernández finishes 5th overall after 4th place in Oviedo; Pedrero 8th

Richard Carapaz and the Movistar Team showed their consistency on Sunday and took to frution a brilliant three days of racing to notch up a well-deserved GC victory in the 2018 Vuelta a Asturias, the Blues’ 16th win so far this season.

The Ecuadorian climber took 8th place at the last finish line in Oviedo after a very fast 118km from Cangas del Narcea, where the squad directed by Pablo Lastras in northern Spain had to defend themselves from an eight-man breakaway featuring Ricardo Mestre (W52), just less than 2′ off the leader’s time.

34″ were the final gap by the Portuguese rider at the finish over a selected group of favourites where Rubén Fernández took 4th place. The Spaniard rounded off, together with team-mate Antonio Pedrero -fifth and eight overall, respectively-, a fantastic race for the Telefónica-backed outfit, stepping onto the last podium as best team of the race.

I’m really happy with this win; you can’t really ask for more at a race like this. I’ve enjoyed this weekend in Asturias so much, and capping it off with the overall success is a great prize for the whole squad. After yesterday’s victory we knew we were holding a very decent gap, and my team-mates controlled things really well so we could keep this jersey until the end. We were also keeping in mind that other squads had to join us at the front of the pack because the podium places were also at stake at the finish, and that’s how we got others to work in the finale.

“This is not a victory by myself, but a success achieved by the whole team. I’ll always hold Asturias and this first big victory dear in my heart and memory. However, we must continue to work hard, so we can make sure other wins like this come in the future.

“Now it’s time to enjoy this win as much as we can, while remaining focused on the big challenge coming up with the Giro d’Italia, which we’ll depart for on Tuesday. It’s a three-week stagerace and we will have to keep focus as well as remain calm in the first days. It’s my second Grand Tour and I think all experience I got in the Vuelta last year will help me. I’m in good form, as shown here; I’ve trained a lot for this objective and I hope we Blues can make ourselves visible during the race.”