Hugh Carthy hoping to add his name to elite list of British grand tour winners in final Vuelta a Espana stage

0
6
Hugh Carthy of The United Kingdom and Team EF Pro Cycling / during the 75th Tour of Spain - GETTY IMAGESHugh Carthy of The United Kingdom and Team EF Pro Cycling / during the 75th Tour of Spain - GETTY IMAGES
Hugh Carthy of The United Kingdom and Team EF Pro Cycling / during the 75th Tour of Spain – GETTY IMAGES
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Preston’s Hugh Carthy will attempt to pull off another hugely unexpected grand tour win by a British rider at the Vuelta a Espana on Saturday.” data-reactid=”17″>Preston’s Hugh Carthy will attempt to pull off another hugely unexpected grand tour win by a British rider at the Vuelta a Espana on Saturday.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="After Tao Geoghegan Hart’s stunning Giro d’Italia victory in Milan a fortnight ago ensured the Londoner became the fifth British grand tour winner in history, 26-year-old Carthy has the opportunity to become the sixth if he can somehow find a way of dropping Primoz Roglic [Jumbo-Visma] and Richard Carapaz [Ineos Grenadiers] on the final climb up to the ski station of La Covatilla.” data-reactid=”18″>After Tao Geoghegan Hart’s stunning Giro d’Italia victory in Milan a fortnight ago ensured the Londoner became the fifth British grand tour winner in history, 26-year-old Carthy has the opportunity to become the sixth if he can somehow find a way of dropping Primoz Roglic [Jumbo-Visma] and Richard Carapaz [Ineos Grenadiers] on the final climb up to the ski station of La Covatilla.

That will be no easy task. With no disrespect to Geoghegan Hart, who rode a phenomenal race and could only beat the riders in front of him, Carthy is up against two former grand tour winners who are riding for the two strongest stage racing teams in the world. 

Race leader Roglic won last year’s Vuelta and has been probably the best rider in the world since lockdown. The Slovenian looked set to beat the best field in the world at the Tour de France, only to be dramatically usurped by his compatriot Tadej Pogacar in the penultimate day time trial. But he bounced back to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege last month and has won four stages already at this Vuelta. Carapaz, meanwhile, won last year’s Giro d’Italia and has the might of Ineos Grenadiers around him.

Carthy, though, is still in contention. He begins the day in third place, eight seconds behind Carapaz and 53 behind Roglic, who managed to increase his lead over both of his nearest rivals on Friday courtesy of six bonus seconds he picked up for finishing second behind Denmark’s Magnus Cort Nielsen in a reduced bunch sprint.

While that is a substantial margin to make up, the climb to La Covatilla – 10 kilometres with a 12 per cent segment at the bottom and another mid-way up – should offer the opportunity to create splits. Carthy is clearly climbing well. He won last weekend’s Queen stage on the Angliru, albeit he only beat Carapaz by 16 seconds and Roglic by 26 seconds. 

The Slovenian did appear to struggle on that stage, though, and the memory of his collapse at the Tour may give Carthy encouragement. Roglic has been racing solidly since the Slovenian nationals back in June and speaking earlier this week seven-time grand tour winner Alberto Contador picked Carthy as the “strongest in the race”.

The Spaniard’s view had seemingly changed after Roglic’s strong finish on Friday and the apparent inability of Ineos in particular to do anything about it. “Carapaz is playing his role and I don’t think he can do much more with what his colleagues are doing,” Contador said. “Jumbo is winning without any problems and almost without any effort and that has to be analysed.”

Contador warned that Roglic’s rivals could not afford to wait until the bottom of La Covatilla to make their move: “If the whole bunch decides to go in block to the base of La Covatilla, this Vuelta will not escape Roglic.”