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Carthy finished ninth on the final stage of the Vuelta a Burgos two weeks ago on the climb of Lagunas de Neila.
“The preparation has been good, I had a good summer. I did a lot of racing over the past weeks to sharpen up and I felt like I was getting better in the races, so I’ll see where I’m at,” he said.
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His EF Education-EasyPost team has announced a three-pronged GC approach, with Rigoberto Urán and Esteban Chaves offering a threat alongside Carthy.
Standing in the Utrecht sunshine, the shaven-headed Briton eschewed the natty olive-colored fisherman hats chosen by Chaves and teammate James Shaw.
On the edges
Carthy has been on the fringes of stage races this year. He came good in the last week of the Giro d’Italia, finishing ninth overall after going strongly in the final mountain stages. It’s his best result of the year, alongside ninth overall in the Tour of the Alps.
The 28-year-old has a strong Vuelta a España pedigree, placing third overall in 2020 and winning the showcase stage on the Alto de l’Angliru.
What’s more, he spent years living in the Basque city of Pamplona after turning pro with Caja Rural back in 2015. The Vuelta will pass nearby during stage 4 to Vitoria-Gasteiz. “I’m not sure there’s a fan club,” he said at the suggestion, “but it’ll be nice to race around there again.
“All of Spain and the whole Vuelta, even here in Holland; there’s not a particular favorite place.”
A boxing book to unwind
Outside of the race, Carthy is reading to relax. He’s currently leafing through a book about British boxing history by Steve Bunce.
Saturday sees a box office heavyweight clash between Carthy’s compatriot Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk, which Carthy will be missing. “I’ll be in bed, but I think Usyk will win,” he said. “It should be good.”
As they say in boxing, styles makes fights: Different attributes can lead to close duels. It could be the same in this mountain-stuffed Vuelta for the tall climber.
“We’ll see,” he said, smiling before walking off to talk to fellow GC challenger Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers), the waters of Utrecht’s old canal glistening behind them.