Unheralded Simon Carr Wins Trofeo Calvià

By Siegfried Mortkowitz

Simon Carr (EF Education–EasyPost) became the second British rider to surprise the favourites this week when he won Sunday’s Trofeo Calvià on the island of Mallorca, due in equal measure to cramps suffered by a rival and his clever tactics.

The 25-year-old native of Hereford, England, initiated the first breakaway, just after the start of the race in the coastal town of Palmanova, and was still at the front of the race with 40 km to go in the 150.1 km race, now part of a three-rider group that included co-favourites Aleksandr Vlasov (BORA-hansgrohe) and Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates).

As the three slowly pulled away from their pursuers, Alex Aranburu (Movistar) and Alberto Bettiol (EF Education–EasyPost), Carr chose to rest from his breakaway labours and let his rivals do all of the work at the front. This turned out to be key as McNulty suddenly slowed down with about 3 km to go, suffering from cramps in both legs, and Vlasov took off for the finish line. But Carr caught him and then proved the freshest rider when he outsprinted him to the finish, also in Palmanova, to take the most prestigious win of his career. McNulty finished third, 27 seconds behind the winner.

Carr’s surprise victory was the second by an unheralded British rider in a week after Israel–Premier Tech’s Stephen Williams won the Santos Tour Down Under on Sunday. “It was a long day,” Carr told Eurosport after the race. He said that he nearly cost himself the race when he slowed down with McNulty because he mistakenly thought he was “playing games,” as Vlasov took off for the finish line. “But I had the legs to come back, so I’m really happy with that.” He went on to say that the victory may be a sign that he was ready to race successfully at the top level. “Last year, I won a lot of races but at a bit of a low level. So, starting already with a win, hopefully, it’s the beginning of some good things this year.”

McNulty, who had won the race in 2022, was philosophical about his misfortune. “It was the first race [of the year], so things like that happen,” he said about his cramps. He might have added that it was a warm day and there was only one official feed zone along the way, which might have contributed to his cramps. “But it was a good race overall,” he added.

As for Vlasov, he said that the race was “very hard, and the last part was full gas. And we wanted to do the race as hard as possible to arrive with less people at the final. Unfortunately, I didn’t win, but it was a good race. I just did my race. I had fun today.”

The Trofeo Calvià was a hilly affair with no fewer than 11 short climbs and almost 3,000 m of climbing over its 150.1 km. The race is part of the Challenge Mallorca, a series of five one-day races that will be run every day this week and end with Sunday’s Trofeo Palma.