Hugh Carthy (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) finished with the lead group on Wednesday at the USA Pro Challenge to retain the Best Young Rider Jersey for the second consecutive day. The 21-year-old is also in contention for the general classification, where he sits fourth and trails race leader Brent Bookwalter by 10 seconds.
"We've got two riders up there in the overall and young rider classification, so we are going to put all our eggs into defending those right now," Carthy said before the start of stage 3. "We will still look for the breaks. We always race aggressively. We are going to carry on as we have done and hope for the best."
Carthy comes from Preston, England, and currently makes his home in Pamplona, Spain. After riding for the British Rapha-Condor program for two years, Carthy signed with Caja Rural for 2015 and 2016. It has been a seamless transition for Carthy, who is comfortable with the lifestyle of a European professional.
"I don't have a problem learning languages," Carthy said. "I picked up Spanish pretty quickly and without much drama. I fit in pretty well and I have good race program here. I've got another year next year so I'm pretty happy."
Carthy raced the USA Pro Challenge with Rapha-Condor in 2014, placing fifth in the Best Young Rider category, and that experience in Colorado has served him well. On Tuesday's stage he rode comfortably in the field as BMC set a steady pace, keeping a watchful eye for the final move of the day on the road to Arapahoe Basin.
"I came here last year to do the race so I kind of knew what to expect. "After the first climb it was downhill the whole way so you could recover, and eat plenty and prepare for the last stage of the race," said Carthy of stage 2.
"The last 20-30 kilometres before the climb the pace started to speed up a bit, and people started moving into position,"he said. "At the bottom of the climb there was a little bit of a race to get to the front. Nothing too dramatic. The rows didn't really change with the surge so position wasn't massively important. I started at the front to give myself the best chance and basically just followed the BMC riders. They set a pretty hard pace up there. It was just Rohan Dennis up there all the way up, which is pretty impressive. I followed and suffered a bit and got to the top then Bookwalter attacked. I tried to follow, but I didn't have the legs to go with him in the last bit."
Carthy finished third on the stage and took the Best Young Rider's jersey. During Wednesday's stage, Carthy again made the final selection of the race and finished with the lead group in 27th place. Carthy is hopeful that his performance will earn him a spot on the British national team heading into the World Championships in September.
"After this I'm hoping to get a ride with the national team for the Tour of Britain," Carthy said. "After that I think I will be going to Italy to be doing some one day races, and hopefully the U23 World Championships, that's the plan."
Carthy and his young Caja Rural team are doing their best to turn heads in Colorado.
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