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Carapaz not selected by Ecuador to defend Olympic road race title

<a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/teams/ecuador/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Ecuador;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Ecuador</a>'s Richard Carapaz celebrates after taking gold in the men's cycling road race at the Tokyo Olympic Games (Greg Baker)

Olympic road race champion Richard Carapaz will not defend his title at the Paris Games, with Jhonatan Narvaez taking Ecuador's sole berth, the Ecuadorian Cycling Federation (FEC) said Monday.

"Jhonatan Manuel Narvaez Prado will participate in the road event and the individual time trial," the FEC said in a statement.

Carapaz, 30, the only Ecuadorian to win Olympic gold in road cycling, had slammed the FEC selection rules as "clearly skewed and lacking in the fundamental principles of fairness and sporting equality".

The winner of the 2019 Giro d'Italia pointed out that, according to the new rule, "points are taken into account from January, but the regulation was not published until March, when there was already a difference in points between the athletes".

Despite being sidelined, Carapaz wished good luck to 27-year-old Narvaez, winner of the first stage of the Giro d'Italia earlier this month and among the leaders on several stages.

The two men have known each other since childhood and were team-mates at Ineos for two seasons from 2020 to 2022.

"This time it was not possible for me to be the representative at the Olympic Games and I want to wish good luck to Jhonatan, I wish him the best to represent us in the best possible way," Carapaz said in a video posted on X, formerly Twitter.

At the Covid-delayed Tokyo Games in 2021, Carapaz won the road race ahead of Belgian Wout van Aert and Slovenian Tadej Pogacar.

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