Hugh Carthy on stage 3 of the Vuelta a España.

Carthy’s GC hopes fade on stage 6 of the Vuelta a España

Hugh Carthy loses nearly three minutes on the Alto de la Montaña de Cullera.

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While his EF Education-Nippo teammate Magnus Cort was holding off a hard-charging pack en route to victory on the final climb of the Vuelta a España’s sixth stage, Hugh Carthy wasn’t having quite as good of a time on Thursday.

Last year’s third-place overall finisher had been distanced from the pack with around 15 km to go in the stage, reconnected with the peloton shortly before the Alto de la Montaña de Cullera finishing climb, and then was dropped again for good on the steep slopes of the ascent. The 27-year-old Brit would ultimately finish the day 2:50 down on Cort and new race leader Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma).

Carthy came into the stage 1:37 behind overnight leader Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo) – and 1:32 behind Roglič – after finishing 62nd in the opening time trial, getting caught behind a late crash on stage 2, and losing more time on the summit finish on stage 3. His troubles on stage 6 began as the pack was charging towards the final climb in a windy stretch of road. Hard work at the front from the Ineos Grenadiers and a few other teams helped force splits with a little over 30 km to go, but things came back together before long. The pace picked up again with around 15 km to go, however, and this time, Carthy was caught out at the back and then distanced.

He nearly reconnected shortly thereafter but couldn’t quite close down then gap, and it would ultimately take seven kilometers of chasing for Carthy, a cadre of EF teammates, and a few other riders to catch back onto the pack. A few minutes later, however, the peloton began the steep final climb, and Carthy was quickly shot out the back.

By the time all was said and done on the final climb, Carthy was nearly three minutes down on Roglič, who took second on the day behind Carthy’s teammate Cort. All told, Carthy now sits 4:28 down on the general classification standings, leaving his young compatriot Simon Carr as the best-placed EF rider in the Vuelta at 2:53 down on Roglič.

There is still plenty of racing ahead at the Spanish Grand Tour, of course, with plenty of opportunities for Carthy to salvage his race hunting for stages, but the GC battle appears to have slipped out of reach for him just six days into the race

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