The 2019 Giro d’Italia might be remembered, among other things, as the race which brought Hugh Carthy to the attention of the cycling public.
As it stands, with seventeen of the twenty-one stages complete, he sits just outside the top ten and is still on the attack. Carthy is relishing his position as one half of an under-the-radar twin-pronged attack with EF Education First teammate Joe Dombrowski.
Little pressure on either of them from the team, it seems, other than to ride with panache.Embed from Getty Images
And he is absolutely nailing his role as professional northerner.
From Preston, Lancashire, just twenty miles down the M6 motorway from road|THEORY HQ, he has the semi-belligerent shrug of a man wondering what all the fuss is about and the nonchalant swagger of the true northern male.
He could, as Bradley Wiggins put it, be working in Asda: “yeah…store manager, innit!?”
Those in the know suggest half his teammates can make head-nor-tail of his accent over the mid-race radio. Though Taylor Phinney is not at the Giro, I would very much like to witness a conversation between the two: the west coast yoga-and-green-tea drawl of Phinney versus the clipped no-nonsense Carthy.
A true meeting of minds.
Yes…a star, it seems, is being born.
Just one note of caution.
As a man who clearly turns himself inside out and back again in pursuit of performance on the bike, he does have a style which rather resembles a certain Italian cyclist. And not in a good way.
He is, I would suggest, the Anglo-Saxon Aru – Aru being Fabio, of course, the man who doesn’t so much ride his bike as straddle it and attempt to pull it to pieces beneath him.
A stylist, Aru is not.
Carthy, deep in effort, has something of that same frenzy about him.
I just felt it needed pointing out.Embed from Getty Images
As for the stage today, the main GC contenders had a little nibble here and there for a few seconds but the day belonged to the breakaway, and a Frenchman taking his first win as a pro cyclist.
With sixteen kilometres to go he clipped off the front to try his luck.
You chase him, said the breakaway group…no you chase him…not my turn…no, it never is…what about Ineos, they could chase him…forget it, have you tried Astana…he’s getting away…someone has to chase him…fine, I’ll do it…
They ‘looked around’ as the euphemism goes, and the unheralded Nans Peters of AG2R La Mondiale was away, wonderfully, to win.
Carthy, meanwhile, back with the main bunch, was duking it out with Mikel Landa on the climb to the finish to take seconds away from the other GC men. As you do. Just a standard day out on the bike for a lad from Preston.
Certainly beats working the tills at Asda.
(Top Image: By Geof Sheppard – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=72835372)