Hugh Carthy signs for Cannondale-Drapac

Up-and-coming Briton gets two-year WorldTour deal

Promising young British rider Hugh Carthy has signed for Cannondale-Drapac for 2017. The deal with the 22-year-old is for two years.

Carthy, currently racing for Spanish Pro Continental squad Caja Rural-Seguros RGA where he has made a promising name for himself, is now set to make a move into the UCI WorldTour league with the American team.

Carthy is be the first Briton on Cannondale-Drapac since David Millar's final year with the then Garmin team back in 2014.

Currently racing in the Vuelta a Burgos, where he finished in the main peloton on the first stage in a bunch sprint won by Danny Van Poppel (Sky) this year Carthy has taken an impressive series of wins and placings for such a young pro.

This include Britain's first ever overall victory in the Vuelta a Asturias stage race in Spain, and top ten placings in the Vuelta a Madrid and GP Miguel Indurain Classic. Carthy also showed strong climbing talent when he finished ninth overall in the very mountainous Volta a Catalunya this spring, taking the Best Young Rider award ahead of his future Cannondale-Drapac teammate Davide Formolo.

"He's got a lot going for him," Cannondale-Drapac team manager Jonathan Vaughters told Cyclingnews. "He's young but has already shown a heck of a lot of promise in races like Asturias and the Route du Sud, where he would have been on the final podium but for a last-minute crash, and in Catalunya he was battling against some real heavyweights like [Alberto] Contador (Tinkoff), [Nairo] Quintana (Movistar) and [Chris] Froome (Team Sky and held his own." In the final overall result, Quintana won overall ahead of Contador, whilst Froome was eighth, just ahead of Carthy.

"He's also clearly a very independent minded kind of guy - he went out to Spain by himself, trains and lives in Pamplona, speaks very good Spanish - and one who has learned his trade in the school of hard knocks. That's a good start and shows the kind of resourceful guy he is, with a lot of promise."

Interest in signing Carthy from several ProTour teams, Vaughters said, was high, so "We're very pleased too that he felt that Cannondale was the right choice at this point in time in his career."

By curious coincidence, Carthy's first trainer back in the UK also coached Charly Wegelius, now a director with Cannondale-Drapac.

With 2017 still a good few months away, Vaughters says they have yet to discuss the race program in detail. "We'll just bring him into a bigger arena, see what he can do, and try and help him to ride faster - although he's riding pretty fast now," Vaughters said.

Carthy himself commented in an email to Cyclingnews, "I think in the end – I spoke to Charly [Wegelius] a lot over the past year or so. It's quite relaxed it seems. The team roster at the moment has quite a lot of young riders, also experienced riders. I think that mix is something that's important. It's something I've had here, with my current team, for the past two years. You have the guidance as well but at the same time you have some freedom. That balance was what I was looking for on a team, and Cannondale-Drapac seemed the best fit for that criteria."

"I'd say my ambition for the future is to feature in Grand Tours, I suppose. That's my long-term objective. And to be a good domestique for someone to go for the general classification. But I see my career in Grand Tours [and] stage races. Hard, long stage races."

"You gotta go with your gut instinct. Mine told me to go with Cannondale-Drapac. It seemed like the right step. There were teams that were interested. There were teams that might have more money, this, that, whatever, but for this moment in my career, Cannondale-Drapac definitely seemed like the best option for me."

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