Mike Woods rode his way to a solo victory after a perfectly timed attack in…
“Today, Hugh entered his name in the book of cycling greats.”
– Juanma Garate, Sport director
Hugh Carthy took his first Grand Tour victory atop the mythical Alto de l’Angliru on stage 12 of the Vuelta a España. Our Prestonian also moved up into third overall ahead of the second and last rest day of the race.
With the shadow of the mighty Angliru cast over the race for the past week, all eyes were on stage 12 of the 2020 Vuelta. A climb seldom used throughout the history of the race because of the punishing gradients that would often lead to riders protesting the race organizers’ decision to use it, the Angliru has cemented itself in Vuelta lore.
The day started, like most days at this year’s race, with a fast and furious pace being set by riders trying to get into the breakaway. Our Dutch rider, Julius van den Berg, was the first rider to gain a gap on the peloton and he would quickly be joined by twenty other riders. The large break had plenty of firepower in it, but they never got much of a lead over the peloton that was being patrolled by Jumbo-Visma and Team Movistar.
The break would ride together over the first three categorized climbs of the day, never extending their gap to more than two and a half minutes. It was on the penultimate climb of the day, the category one Alto del Cordal, that the break got swallowed up by the peloton again.
The run-in to the Alto de l’Angliru was a fast one, with Jumbo-Visma riding hard on the front and whittling down the bunch on the steeps. Carthy and Mike Woods were the two riders left for EF Pro Cycling along with all the main contenders of the race.
It was with three and a half kilometers to go that attacks started to come out of the group of favorites. The first blow was given by Enric Mas (MOV), who was matched by Carthy and Richard Carapaz (INS). As the group came back together on the steepest gradients of the climb, which pitch up to leg numbing 24 percent, the red jersey started to fall off the back with around one and a half kilometers to go. It was then that Carthy launched his decisive attack.
Hugh powered across the line having opened up a gap on the riders behind. His gap of 6 seconds was enough to leapfrog over his closest opponent – Dan Martin (ISN) – to move into third overall in the general classification.
A year and four months after his incredible solo victory at the Tour de Suisse, Carthy is back on top of the podium. What a day to have a great day. There’s one week left in this Vuelta — and what a Vuelta it has been already.
Hear from the team below
Hugh Carthy, Rider
It’s a dream come true to win. In any professional race it’s a dream come true. But to win in a Grand Tour, in a mythical climb, it doesn’t get any better than that. It’s hard to put into words.
Next week is going to be exciting. Especially for the public it’s everything they want. A close race, going into the time trial. Everything is to play for.
Jonathan Vaughters, EF Pro Cycling Team CEO
If I had one word for Hugh’s victory today it would be ‘grit.’ You could see he was in real physical difficulty on the crazy steep sections, but he just dig in and fought to stay at the front. And I’m sure he was in all kinds of hurt when he attacked, but he timed it beautifully and had the grit to seal the deal. Now he’s back on the podium and we’ve got everything to ride for. I’m excited for this final week to say the least.
Juanma Garate, Sport Director
Angliru is mythical in cycling history. If you win on top of that climb, your name will be in the history books forever. It’s something that not many people can do. It’s such a hard climb and all the winners there are part of the cycling greats. Unless you’re winning it from the breakaway, you have to be a big big name to win here and I think today Hugh entered his name in the book of cycling greats. It’s something really special and something that he will have with him for the rest of his life.
Teamwork today was very important. Our goal was to send Julius in the early break to go over the first three climbs in front in case we needed him in the valleys and he did a perfect job. Really incredible job. It was not easy, and in the end he was the one that created the day’s breakaway. He was really strong in the first 25 kilometers, so it was important to have him in the front, even if we didn’t end up needing him, it was important tactically.
The job Mike did on the last climb was super important in terms of giving Hugh confidence and letting Hugh know that he has the support and is never isolated. That’s super important. Hugh then was able to ride the last climb in a really mature way, waiting for his opportunities and waiting for his rivals to make the moves. You need to ride these climbs at your own tempo, wait until the last minutes to attack and that’s exactly what he did. Everyone rode perfectly today.