Brit Hugh Carthy (EF Education First) celebrated his first Grand Tour success on stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia, taking the lead in the youth classification.
Carthy, 24, pulled on the white jersey thanks to a strong first week, then riding with the top stars on the closing climb on the road to Pinerolo.
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“It’s a special day,” said Carthy, not known for wasting his words.
He celebrated in Pinerolo, the town known for the famous Fausto Coppi ride in the 1949 Giro d’Italia.
The 12th stage of the 2019 Giro covered 158km in Italy’s northwest Piedmont region.
Carthy rode alongside Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), who has the focus of the British press after winning the Vuelta a España and leading the Giro for 13 days in 2018. Their group also contained Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and hot favourite Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma).
Carthy rode next to team-mate Tanel Kangert (EF Education First) and the group distanced race leader Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates) and Bob Jungels (Deceuninck – Quick-Step).
“I knew it was an objective and I new it was possible if the race played out in a certain way, which it did,” Carthy said.
The race split up on the Montoso climb. Jungels and Conti, who has now lost the maglia rosa, were some of the causalities. Miguel Ángel López (Astana), also a contender for the youth classification, and Mikel Landa (Movistar Team) slipped away to gain around a half-minute.
“It was a hard climb, I was in difficulty over the top,” Carthy continued.
“It came back together and we were able to limit our losses to López, so it was nice.”
Ahead, Carthy and the peloton face their the first summit finish of the 2019 Giro d’Italia on stage 13 and a long run of Alpine mountain stages. Maintaining the white jersey will be “difficult” for Carthy over rivals like Colombian López, who is second at 35 seconds.
“It’s going to be difficult, he proved how strong he was today,” said Carthy.
“I am going to come out strong every day and try to defend it.”