Defending road cycling champ not picked for Paris

Richard Carapaz will not be at the Paris Olympics to defend his road cycling title.

Ecuador's only representative at the Olympics in the road cycling race and individual time trial will be Jhonatan Narvaez, the national cycling federation said in a statement.

Carapaz said on social media he wished "the best of luck to Jhonatan," and added he will keep reaching for new goals. The two cyclists had a tough battle for Ecuador's spot in Paris.

Carapaz was the first Ecuadorian to win a grand tour, the 2019 Giro d'Italia. He also made the podium at the Tour de France and Spanish Vuelta, but hasn't finished any grand tour since 2022.

This year, he won a stage and finished seventh in the Tour de Romandie in Switzerland in April.

The Olympic champion claimed in various interviews that the process to earn Ecuador's only road cycling spot in Paris favored Narvaez. The federation rejected the accusation.

Carapaz urged the country's sports ministry to intervene in the decision but that hasn't happened so far.

Narvaez, winner of the road cycling race in the Pan American Games in Santiago last year, has yet to comment on the decision.