A year on from his breakthrough performance at the Volta a Catalunya, Hugh Carthy has returned to the Catalan race in 2017 with a new team and with a very different perspective.
The 22-year-old Briton announced himself to the wider cycling world when he finished ninth on general classification and best young rider at the 2016 Volta, the first of a series of results that led to him stepping up from the Spanish Pro Continental outfit Caja Rural to Cannondale-Drapac in the WorldTour.
"It’s all going well so far, which is how I expected it when I joined a bigger team with a bigger budget. You notice the difference right away, but at the end of the day we still have to do the races, train the same way," Carthy told Cycling Weekly before the start of the third stage in Mataró.
"I’ve not raced a lot so far this year, so I’ve not really got that many references in terms of form. Hopefully we’ll see over the next two or three days whether the work I put in over the winter has paid off."
After a solid start to the season at the Ruta del Sol, Carthy is building towards a debut appearance at the Giro d’Italia, and admits the events he’s racing before then are primarily about preparation for that milestone.
Even so, the tall, lean Lancastrian, who is very similar to his team leader and fellow climber Pierre Rolland in build, still has a soft spot for the Volta.
"It is nice to be back here because it’s kind of where everything started for me. But I’m not putting pressure on myself this year. This is just one more race at this early part of what is a long season. If I go well at La Molina and the summit finish on Friday then that’s good, but if I don’t, then I won’t sweat it too much," he said.
When the Volta concludes on Sunday, Carthy will go back to training prior to riding the Tour of the Alps, the revamped Giro del Trentino, in mid-April. Next up after that, assuming good health and form, will be the 100th Giro.
"I’m really excited by the prospect of the riding that race. That landmark is very significant and it would be very nice indeed to be on the start line and part of that.
"I’ll be supporting Davide Formolo for the general classification primarily, but we’ll all be on the look-out for other opportunities as well," said Carthy, who is eager to display his ability on the climbs to an even wider audience.
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