Young British rider Hugh Carthy will join the Cannondale-Drapac Professional Cycling Team next season it has been announced and the move marks his debut with a WorldTour team.
22 year-old Carthy came up through the Rapha-Condor program and he’s spent the past two season riding for Caja Rural-Seguros RGA and living in northern Spain. His results this season have captured the attention of the bigger teams whereby he finished ninth overall at Volta Catalunya and won the youth classification. He finished ninth on the general classification at the 2015 USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado.
Cannondale-Drapac sport director Charly Wegelius confirmed that he has tracked Carthy’s progress for years and was instrumental in Carthy’s decision to join the team.
“I think in the end – I spoke to Charly 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,” Carthy said. “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.”
For Wegelius, the early interest of Carthy came from a similar history.
“We’ve got a shared past, which isn’t the reason I went after him but the reason he came to my attention quite early,” Wegelius said. “He’s trained by the guy who trained me when I was a young rider, Ken Matheson, and then he raced with John Herety at Rapha. I’ve always tracked him, kept an eye on him.”
“Beyond his results, which anyone can see, the thing that really impresses me about Hugh is the way he’s gone about achieving what he’s achieved,” Wegelius added. “He’s done it the hard way. In a world where riders from Great Britain are wrapped up in the bubble of British Cycling, he went out and made a go of it in Pamplona and raced with a small team. He really did it the tough way.”
“He’s shown he’s a world-class stage racer at the age of 21,” Cannondale-Drapac CEO Jonathan Vaughters said. “In my opinion probably the best young stage-racing talent out of the UK, if not period. I think he’s got a big future in three-week races, and we want to help him develop into the best rider he can be.”
Carthy had the option to ride for other teams next season, but ultimately chose Cannondale-Drapac for his jump up to the WorldTour.
“You gotta go with your gut instinct. Mine told me to go with Cannondale-Drapac,” Carthy said. “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 definitely seemed like the best option for me. I’m happy with my decision.”
“I’d say my ambition for the future is to feature in grand tours,” he added. “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. Stage races. Hard, long stage races.”
Wegelius says those stage races are something he’s already somewhat prepared for, given his development track.
“It’s something that’s going to keep him in a good position when things get tough at this level,” Wegelius said. “We already know ahead of time that Hugh can manage with very little and perform with very little. He can handle the hard yards. He’s going to know how to deal with that. And to me, that’s really promising.”