PARIS: British cycling team Ineos have named a strong line up to defend the Giro d’Italia title they won in the past two editions and will be led by Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz. Carapaz won the Giro in 2019 when riding for Spanish outfit Movistar and the all-rounder goes into the race after coming third on the Tour de France in 2021 and above all as Olympic road race champion. “It’s a race that I love, maybe my favourite race,” said Carapaz, who will be supported by two other potential title challengers in the 37-year-old Richie Porte and the 24-year-old climber Pavel Sivakov. Colombia’s Egan Bernal won the 2021 title for Ineos while British rider Tao Geoghegan Hart won it in 2020. Porte came third at the Tour de France in 2020 and said this return for his final Grand Tour was special for him. “I went to the Giro in 2010 as a neo pro and the next thing you know, I wore the pink jersey for three days. That was incredible and still some of the best memories of my career to be honest,” said the Australian Porte. “We’ve got a guy in Richard Carapaz who can win this race. It’s nice to go there with a rider you like, respect and hopefully help win the race,” added Porte. The Giro starts in Budapest, Hungary on Friday May 6 and ends in Verona on May 29. Ineos sports director Rod Ellingworth said the race meant lot to the team. “I have every confidence that we are going to be lining up in Budapest with the ability and intense desire to win, just as much as we have done in any other edition. We’re set to take the race on.” Chris Froome also won the Giro in 2018 when the team were known as Sky.