Hugh Carthy signs with Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
@raphacondorjlt's Hugh Carthy put in a fine performance to finish in 2nd on the Mount Fuji stage of the Tour of Japan pic.twitter.com/0VRn7YDzvcIn one of the more surprising transfer announcements, young British climber Hugh Carthy (Rapha-Condor JLT) has signed a two year deal with Pro Continental Caja Rural-Seguros RGA starting in 2015. In a deal apparently signed at the Circuito del Gexto, according to Biciciclismo, the tall drink of water (1.89 meters and just 63 kgs) from Preston, near Blackpool and the Irish Sea in the UK, has been a sensation this year at times. Carthy won the Tour de Korea and finished 2nd on two of the hardest climbing stages in the Tour of Japan to finish 6th overall. More recently, Carthy came over to race the USA Pro Confederation of Cyclists Colorado Challenge Monthly and while not being too adapt at high altitude, he was able to get in the final stage breakaway over Lookout Mountain and show himself off a bit.
— Muc Off (@muc_off) May 23, 2014
On the outside, this move makes a bit of sense. Carthy is a pure climber and Caja Rural can offer him a calendar that will suit his needs better and could potential get him into the Vuelta a Espana if the cards lay out right. On the other hand, Caja Rural isn't exactly known for their development and Carthy is the only English-speaking rider to sign with Caja Rural since they re-incorporated in 2010. It will be interesting to see if he can handle the uptick in kilometers and a bigger, more frantic peloton. Another note in that article from above was that Caja Rural wanted young German sprinter Phil Bauhaus but he decided to remain at Stölting for 2015.
Perhaps an even more interesting story is the fact that Caja Rural could potentially lose their Pro Continental license. The full story is here with great reporting by ciclo21. Their bike sponsor, ViVelo, filed suit in a Bulgarian court alleging that Caja Rural never returned team bikes from 2012 and 2013, which apparently total to 1.33 million Euro, according to ViVelo. They also allege that their sponsor stickers were smaller on the team car than contracted and want 400 thousand Euro in damages for that. They are also pissed off about Luis Leon Sanchez using a BMC TM01 TT bike and putting some ViVelo stickers on it. Obviously, it would be hard for Caja Rural to repay 1.73 million euro back without killing the team and if this case persists, it could affect their money stream and their Pro Continental license.
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