Sir Bradley Wiggins says it is a shame that Giro d’Italia leader Richard Carapaz is being linked with Team Ineos, arguing that his former team’s financial clout is ‘strangling the sport’.
At the time of writing, Movistar rider Carapaz is 1m54s ahead of former winner Vincenzo Nibali, and, as is so often the case when young riders show promise in Grand Tours, there have been rumours that the Ecuadorian has been discussing a move to Team Ineos.
Commenting on this on Eurosport, Wiggins conceded that it was difficult for him to criticise his former team, but said such a move would be ‘a shame’ as Ineos’s financial clout was making races more predictable.
“It’s a fantastic team, all the riders there – G and Froome and everyone. But we’ve enjoyed this race so much, and these attacks, and Nibali. It’s been a joy to watch, and we kind of can predict what’s going to happen at the Tour. They’re going to park the bus almost because they’ve got that strength in depth.”
Elaborating on this, he continued: "We’re talking about Bernal, G, Froome, Kwiatkowski, Poels… and it’s like when the lead group gets down to ten, five of them are going to be Ineos. It doesn’t allow for this racing, it’s a physical display – and I know that because I benefited from it. And it’s a physical demonstration of watts and threshold powers etc, and it doesn’t allow so much for this kind of spectacle racing.
"By adding another big major Grand Tour winner in there it feels like there’s a bit of a strangling of the sport, because who else is left now to enjoy these moments. Nibali is 35, he’s not around forever. They’ve got Bernal, they’ve (Pavel) Sivakov, they’ve got the future of the sport in one team, and I worry, where’s all the other talent? We had Mathieu van der Poel on the podcast a few weeks ago, will he end up going as well? What’s left?"
Wiggins said he didn’t know whether the situation was right or wrong and made it clear he wasn’t criticising the Carapaz or Team Ineos.
“Why wouldn’t you want to go to the best team in the world, tried and tested? They may say to him – you can try and win the Giro again next year, or the Vuelta, maybe the Tour team no because we’ve got ten others who can win that.”
Wiggins’ fellow Eurosport pundit Brian Smith, added: "I looked after Leopold Konig a couple of years ago. I advised him not to go to Team Sky, but he wanted to go purely because he wanted to learn from the best team in the world. That’s what they want to do."
Konig recorded top ten finishes in both the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana while riding for NetApp-Endura (now Bora-Hansgrohe) and while he recorded his best Grand Tour result with Team Sky the following year with sixth at the Giro, he found he had limited opportunities and has since returned to his former team.