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Giro d'Italia

Giro d’Italia: Hugh Carthy, Simon Carr, Magnus Cort spearhead EF Education’s ambitions

'I think this is one of the best groups we’ve had in many years. There’s a good blend, Jonathan Vaughters made some good signings, but we’ve just had some bad luck,' Wegelius says.

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (VN) — EF Education EasyPost’s squad for the Giro d’Italia will center around Hugh Carthy’s ambitions for the maglia rosa and Magnus Cort’s and Simon Carr’s hunt for stage wins.

According to sports director Charly Wegelius, a number of spots have yet to be finalized but several South American riders are in line for starts, with the racing kicking off on May 6 in Budapest.

Cort has not raced since crashing out of Tirreno-Adriatico and breaking a collarbone, but over the last few weeks, the Dane has worked at returning to something like his best form. Having missed the spring classics, the 29-year-old is aiming to complete his set of grand tour stage wins after already winning a stage at the Tour de France and claiming six victories in the Vuelta a España.

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“I’d say that the main change from what we planned over the winter is around Magnus Cort,” Wegelius told VeloNews at the Tour de Romandie. “Initially, we planned for him to have a big push from around Milan-San Remo through until Amstel but he broke his collarbone so we’re going to have a pop at the Giro with him.

“If you look at what he’s done in the past between the Tour and the Vuelta, that’s compatible with doing a good Giro and Tour. He’ll hunt stages at the Giro. Unfortunately, Van der Poel will be there but it will make for a nice race, and I think that there will be quite a lot of stuff for Magnus there.

“He’s always had an idea trying to win stages in all three grand tours but initially we wanted to go all-in on San Remo. He’s training now though, and I wouldn’t say that he’s in a race against time but it will be challenging for him to reach the start of the race in peak condition because he won’t have raced.”

Carthy will lead the line in the GC despite having setbacks in 2022. The British climber finished ninth in the recent Tour of the Alps and is back on track after a bout of COVID.

He has a good pedigree when it comes to the Giro d’Italia too, having finished eighth last, and 11th in 2019. The Giro d’Italia course certainly suits him, with a sparing amount of time trial kilometers and a stack of mountain stages throughout the race.

“There’s Hugh and then some of the Colombian and South American talents will have a run-out. There are still a few decisions to be made. Unfortunately, the crash in Liège really put a spanner in the works with Odd Christian Eiking for example, so we’re still thinking out a few of the last spots but the main themes are in place,” Wegelius said.

“He’s had a difficult first part of the season with successive illnesses. I think COVID cost him 12 days off the bike and then he got sick again. He’s shown encouraging signs in Trentino, so I’m optimistic for him. He’s back on track. If he can get a nice solid block with health then I think he’s got a good base. Would I want him to prepare for the race like that? Probably not but I still think that he can do himself justice there.”

Wegelius would not put any expectations on Carthy’s shoulders, in terms of a possible top-five or podium but backed the climber to give a strong account of himself.

“With objectives like that you risk reaching it and not going beyond it. I think that internally at least if you’re too overt about it then you’re putting something out there that really depends on what a lot of other people do. If he can do the race that he’s capable of doing then he’ll come away with a good result. The route is good for him, it suits him, and one of these years he’ll pop off another good one in that race.”

Another rider set to race the Giro d’Italia is Simon Carr. Like Carthy and Cort, the British all-rounder has had his share of bad luck this campaign but the signs are that he’s ready to take another step up having made his grand tour debut at the race last year.

“He’s another one with multiple illnesses but he’s going so well,” Wegelius said.

“He crashed in Liège but he’s relatively okay. Last year we raced him more towards going to the Giro because he started so well but this year we’ve taken a few decisions to keep him out of some races so that he’s more solid heading towards the Giro. So he didn’t race Pais Basque, for example. When he has a clear road ahead of him, and he’s out and in front of the peloton, he can really do good stuff.

“There were so many unknowns last year. I wouldn’t have thought that he would finish 11th in Strade Bianche having signed him but he did that. We saw some things that he needs to work on but when he has a clear road then he has a lot of capabilities. He’s not out of shape at all and he’s going to the Giro to race. Stage results are well within his grasp.

“We have a very good team, to be honest. I think that this is one of the best groups that we’ve had in many years. There’s a good blend, Jonathan Vaughters made some good signings, but we’ve just had some bad luck. We’ll ride that out.”