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Giro d'Italia

Hugh Carthy hoping for a home run at Giro d’Italia: ‘Top-5 or close to the podium, I’d be happy with that’

EF Education-EasyPost GC contender back in grand tour action and perfectly poised after flaming out early in 2021 Vuelta a España.

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PALMI, Italy (VN) – “So far so good,” at the Giro d’Italia for the ever understated Hugh Carthy.

The British climber is hoping to hit a home run for EF Education-EasyPost in his return to grand tour action after abandoning last year’s Vuelta a España.

“I think a top-10 or more, or maybe in a dream scenario a top-5 or close to the podium – I’d be happy with that, and the team would be happy with that as well,” Carthy said when asked of his goals for this year’s race Thursday. “But one stage at a time, it’s a bit of a cliché but that’s the way you’ve got to race it.”

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Carthy came through the Budapest-Siciliy salvo of this year’s Giro poised in position to make his dream scenario a possibility.

At 16th overall, 38 seconds back on “leader in the clubhouse” Simon Yates and 14 seconds down on Giro A-lister Richard Carapaz, Carthy is as optimistic as possible for the arrow-straight talker this early in the race.

“So far so good – it’s going OK. By and large, feeling good and stayed out of trouble so far,” Carthy told VeloNews ahead of stage 6 on Thursday morning.

“There’s still some pretty complicated stages to come in this first week and I’m just focussing on one day at a time and enjoying the way we’re going.”

This year’s Giro is Carthy’s first grand tour after an unexpected abandon in the first week of last year’s Vuelta.

After coming into the Spanish tour as an outside contender with a Vuelta top-3 on his palmarès, Carthy hit choppy waters in the race’s first week and bailed out early.

Carthy isn’t getting caught up in the mysteries of the past as he goes all-in for a Giro that brings all the uphill the pure climber could wish for.

“I wasn’t in the best shape and it’s one of those things. You can’t put a specific answer to the combination of things, and that was that,” he said of an exit that emerged from no pin-pointed problem.

“I didn’t really change anything afterward. I just had the winter off and trained again, same as usual, nothing changed with my preparation drastically.”

Lockdown on Etna, possible problems on Potenza

Sticking to the script is working fine so far.

Carthy rumbled to Etna’s summit with all the Giro’s top dogs in a stage that saw selections come from the back as Jumbo-Visma flamed out of the frame.

“I felt OK on Etna, I didn’t feel the best and I think everyone was the same with the flight and the travel [after transferring from Hungary, ed]. I think everyone was in the same boat, nobody wanted to try anything or attack and write the day off,” he said.

Stage 7 to Potenza could follow a far different playbook.

A 200km haul through four categorized climbs and a clutch more lumps and bumps has danger written all over its Calabrian course.

“I think ideally it would be a day for the breakaway and the peloton calls it a truce or something,” Carthy said.

“But you never know. These races are pretty open right now. I’m sure if there’s an opportunity to attack and someone sees their moment, they’ll do it.”

All the GC contenders will breathe a sigh of relief when the Potenza stage is in the past. But with Blockhaus looming large over the already-bracing peloton, the Giro’s first week isn’t one for the faint-hearted.

To recall Carthy’s cliché, it’s all about taking things one day at a time.

“You’ve just got to save energy when you can, make the most when you can, take it step-by-step,” he said.