After securing a third place finish at the Spanish grand tour ending on Sunday evening in Madrid, Hugh Carthy said that he is proud of his performance at La Vuelta a Espana. The 26 year-old took time out of race leader Primoz Roglic in the final climb of the race, but it wasn’t enough to lift him above third in the general classification.
I now know that I can ride a three-week race, that I can compete with the very best riders in the world during the all-important final week, and that I can also perform in the time trial.
Carthy had his trade pencilled in during his youth as he looked upon Cycling as a trade: “I prefer to be more hands on. I consider cycling as a job,” he said
“Academic? No. I prefer to learn a trade, using my hands, something quite physical,” said Carthy, who began to take riding seriously aged 16.
By the age of 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.
Carthy’s says of his Spanish exploits: “At first, I was completely on my own. It wasn’t too bad and the opportunity allowed me to become fluent in Spanish.”
“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.”
A man who came third in a bicycle race might not seem like a game changer.
But it gives a clue to the very creditable possibility Britain is on the verge of another golden period in a sport in which it has seen immeasurable success across the previous decade.
Hugh Carthy’s hard-fought podium place as a result of some cold mountain passes at the Vuelta a Espana is arguably just as significant as Tao Geoghegan Hart’s glittering victory at the Giro d’Italia for Ineos Grenadiers last month.