“It was quite emotional after the race.”
It was a wonderful weekend for Jonathan Caicedo. The 26-year-old won both Ecuador’s time trial title on Saturday and the road race title on Sunday.
“It was quite emotional after the race,” said Caicedo. “There were a lot of spectators and everyone was happy, also happy that the nation’s colors aren’t just going to be represented here in Ecuador but at races worldwide, at WorldTour races across Europe. This makes people really happy, really proud. And with that in mind, I want to make sure to represent the jersey in the best possible way.”
Caicedo, racing his first season in the WorldTour, recently completed his maiden Grand Tour. He called the Giro d’Italia his biggest challenge and credited the three-week race with redefining his understanding of his physical and mental limitations. It proved the perfect prelude to his national championships campaign.
“After doing such a big race in Europe, I knew that I had to keep working, keep training,” said Caicedo. “It had been awhile since I’ve raced the national championships. Having the opportunity to race them this year, I was really excited to do them, and I believed that I was in with a chance for them, that maybe I would be able to do it.
“The truth is that I have been feeling a massive difference to how I’ve been feeling after racing the Giro,” Caicedo continued. “I tell you, it feels like I’m on a higher level. It was a hard, and I learned a lot, and I just want to keep applying what I’ve learned to make sure that I keep moving up a level.
“The other thing is, it’s not only the strength that you have in the body, but I go into races with a different mentality, I’m thinking about things a bit differently,” said Caicedo. “Mentally I’m changed quite a bit. I notice I have a more combative mindset in races.”
Caicedo dominated Saturday’s time trial in Tulcán, stopping the clock 1:48 faster than silver-medalist Segundo Navarrete.
“I was feeling really strong on Saturday,” said Caicedo. “I did my best to do well in the race and make the spectators proud.”
He backed up Saturday’s effort with another big ride on Sunday.
“The road race was bit calmer but there were a lot of riders looking at me,” said Caicedo. “At first there was a break which got up to six minutes at one point. Then there were other teams that were working to bring it back and people were looking at me but I just kept calm, let the other teams work because I didn’t have any teammates there. Then I took the opportunity.”
Double national champion.
“I think my success also shows off the team well,” said Caicedo. “That they have the patience and the support in me. I am super happy, and I have the confidence now to keep on working hard and making myself even better.”