Vuelta a España: Hugh Carthy, Alejandro Valverde abandon on stage 7

Hugh Carthy abandons after another difficult day while Alejandro Valverde crashes out on a high-speed descent.

Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) abandoned the 2021 Vuelta a España midway through stage 7, while Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) quit following a heavy crash on a descent.

Carthy struggled in the final 20km of Thursday’s stage — which was won by his teammate Magnus Cort Nielsen — and finished some 2:27 behind the leaders, dropping to 33rd from 19th on the GC. The EF rider had already lost time in the opening time trial and on the stage 3 summit finish.

Speaking with U.S. broadcaster NBC, team boss Jonathan Vaughters speculated that Carthy’s “up-and-down performance” at the Vuelta a Burgos, and over the early stages of the Vuelta a España, may have been due to him receiving his second COVID-19 vaccination recently.

Carthy won the final stage of the Vuelta a Burgos but finished well down in the overall classification. Earlier this season, he finished in eighth overall at the Giro d’Italia and the Volta a Catalunya. He was fifth on the GC at the Tour of the Alps.

Carthy finished on the podium, in third overall at the 2020 edition of the Spanish grand tour, winning stage 12 along the way.

Alejandro Valverde crashes, abandons Vuelta

Alejandro Valverde on stage 6 of the 2021 Vuelta a España
Alejandro Valverde on stage 6 of the 2021 Vuelta a España. Photo: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Valverde abandoned the Vuelta a España after he appeared to hit a pothole and lose control on a high-speed descent with about 43km to go.

The former world champion was following Richard Carapaz (Indeos Grenadiers) on a tight bend in the road, when his brakes appeared to lock up.

As Valverde tried to control his speed while leaning into the bend to the right, he struck something on the road and lost contact with the tarmac.

He landed on his right side, and slid across the road, hitting his helmet against the road surface. He was ejected from his bike and tumbled to the edge of a ravine, but managed to just barely hang on to the top of the cliff.

The Spanish remounted his bike and tried to continue on, with two of his teammates pushing him along, but after a further two kilometers, he was unable to continue and retired to the team car. Valverde could be seen crying on the side of the road being hugged by his sport director José Vicente García.

Valverde was one of the co-leaders of the Spanish-based Movistar squad, and featured near the front of the race in the final kilometer of stage 6.

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.