Wuelta-a-Espana – third big tour of the season.
The person who finished third in the cycling race does not seem to be a person who changes the rules of the game.
But that is the key to the fact that Britain is about to experience a new golden period in the sport, in which it has had incredible success over the past decade.
Hugh Carty’s difficult podium finish, due to some cold mountain passes in the Vuelta españa, is perhaps as important as Tao Geogegan Hart’s brilliant victory in the Giro d’Italia for the Ineos Grenadiers last month.
The heavy work on the Carthy bike carts of EF Pro Cycling was ready for the climb of the Alto de la Covatilla on Saturday.
And they were made with fewer players, in a team with a reduced budget and with a stage victory where few people won.
All this has made it possible for another relatively young rider to be part of a new British peloton that is phenomenally gifted at cycling – and has the potential to tear up the trails on the toughest climbs in Europe and beyond over the next ten years.
The nickname Karti is big, because his name is misspelled by the organizer.
Screams at the top of the bowl
Karti, 26, may not be on the top step of the podium on Sunday after a largely processional stage in Madrid, but he reached the top of the toughest only six days earlier.
There are strong riders, riders who have their own day, and special riders who can do things that most others cannot.
The Alto de l’Angliru is a prestigious testing ground for some of the sport’s best players, including Alberto Contador, who beat potential Vuelta winner Chris Froome there in 2017.
The painting was in the 12th century at the time. He showed patience, and perhaps with a bike honesty that only a Preston man could express, he let a pain rub in the middle of his face as he and his rivals climbed the climbs that included a 17% gradient.
Because it is rare for an athlete to have pain in a sport where the poker face has to count for a lot, Karti cries passionately when he goes to the finish line 26 seconds ahead of the expected winner, Primoz Roglic, who has discovered a cataract release.
Until Monday, 109.4 km from Paul de Lavianne in England, Carty was probably part of a group of riders who are generally recognised as a good couple and who sometimes have more rules of respect between peers than the prison hierarchy.
Things must be different now. He climbed up a step in a pile of difficult hieroglyphics.
It’s Peter Crouch for an exciting new era in cycling, if you will. The 6-foot 3-inch combination has the power and ability to refute its semi-circular frame – it’s bigger than Chris Froome – with a playful tone that can pull a trapeze if needed. (Preston’s term for greater physical exertion, based on what you’re really interested in).
And the comparison does not end with the physical, because his late climb to the top was more around the houses than most, including once with the Spanish second division team Caja Rural before joining his current team on the 2017 around the world tour.
Despite good support from EF, most of Carty’s work in the high mountains was done by himself.
Do it yourself
In general he lost this year against the strongest team in the sport, led by the strongest rider – pound for pound.
Roglik may have lost the Tour de France in September to Tadeus Pogakar under incredible circumstances, but he and his star team Jumbo-Visma didn’t want to let him lose again this time.
It is the new Ineos in terms of depth of talent, who has mastered the pace of the race and the peloton and counted him in a three week race mainly in the Basque Country, although he lost one of his best supporters Tom Dumulain.
What about Ineos? They arrived in Vuelta with regained leaders Chris Froome and Richard Karapaz as their leaders – it soon became clear that the latter would be their protected rider who would show the ability, if not for the general support of a team that could have defeated the determined Roglik, but crushed him.
In Milan Geoghegan won Hart d’Ineos with brio de Giro d’Italia, but without conquering the English equivalent of the most difficult mountain stage of the Italian Alps via the Passo dello Stelvio, despite his hard work with his star teammate Rohan Dennis in the time trial.
Karti, on the other hand, has not received the same support from his dynamic team, which has much smaller financial reserves than Ineo.
EF Pro Cycling exists to upset the apple cart in this sport, where it is in the lower third of the budget, run by the Jumbo Visma and Ineos, according to team manager Jonathan Watcher.
The most important part of this team is what we give to the losers, the missing and the guys who do not have a fair share of the chances of winning, he added.
In the organization we talk about a frustrated victory and make it fun, dignified and honest.
The image corresponds to this form, and he had to endure the most cruel moments of the race alone. He couldn’t have done any of this.
But it is further proof that his team could never come to Spain with the intention of fully supporting Karti to win – just like other better equipped opponents.
They had to cut their fabric accordingly, which they did – the other two phases were won by Michael Woods and Magnus Court.
A bright future
2020 was the season in which the British drivers achieved their lowest victories since 2011.
But for those who watched Ineos (formerly Sky) for nine years and brought the best British cyclists – such as Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Gerant Thomas – to the top of the sport, the season has gone from disaster to a seemingly smooth transition. A little accidental.
Froome’s loss of form after a terrible injury in 2019 and his departure from Ineos, which did not get the fanfare he could have had after long contract negotiations, was a catalyst for his beloved Tour de France to go unnoticed.
The poor condition of Gerant Thomas, followed by terrible luck with the rupture of the Giraud Basin and the increasingly emotional decline of Mark Cavendish sealed the problems of British cycling.
And all this after denying another potentially golden Olympics thanks to the coronavirus.
But with a bit of luck, all three of them will live on the Grand Tours the next day in 2021 – with Adam Yates in an Ineos kit and his brother Simon in Mitchelton-Scott.
Maybe it will be exciting, they will do it against those who, as children, saw their heroes show the way on television many years ago.
Karti and Geoggan Hart are just two of more than 100 British male professional drivers from different disciplines who want to break into the heart of the sport.
And it’s not limited to the uninterrupted flow of talent from Ineos, which now includes Tom Pidcock with Ethan Hayter and Chris Lawless.
The teams abroad have taken note of this: Harry Tanfield of the French AG2R LaMondiale, James Knox of the Belgian Deceuninck-Quick Step and Marc Donovan of the German Sunweb and many others.
Now all they have to do is remove the scar, and that’s another ten years.