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Carthy had his trade pencilled in during his youth and looked upon Cycling as a trade: “I prefer to be more hands on. I consider cycling as a trade.

“Academic? No. I prefer to learn a trade, using my hands, something quite physical,” said Carthy, who began to take it seriously aged 16.

Aged 17, Cycling had become a full-time occupation for the Proud Prestonian: “I like Preston and I’m glad I’m from Preston – a traditional, working-class city,” said Carthy.

“The people are down to earth. You can speak to anybody, get on with anybody, on any social level – that’s a really good quality to have,” said Carthy.

Proud Prestonian Hugh Carthy (centre): Preston’s a traditional, working-class city – down to earth people.

Carthy’s says of his Spanish exploits: “At first, I was completely on my own. It wasn’t too bad.

“It wasn’t like cowboys and Indians out there. Spain is a first-world country. It isn’t like going back in time or anything,” said Carthy reflecting of his time with Caja Rural.

On his progress within the sport, Carthy said: “I’m learning more and more. That’s what I’ve been doing, sussing everything out, seeing what’s what. Learn your place within the team. Then after that, you’ll go racing, get stuck in.

“I’ve had to earn respect a lot more and had quite a few hurdles to overcome to do well in races. When you’ve had to climb up that ladder yourself, to get into a top team, I think you appreciate it a lot more.”

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