Times of learning and taking chances are ahead for the Albacete-based rider, who will know the hardness of the WorldTour with Movistar Team in 2017 - aged just 21 - following a brilliant U23, three-season stage with Lizarte
Héctor Carretero (Albacete, Spain; 1995) went through a certain degree of distress before his leap towards pro racing, as the 27th rider for Movistar Team, was confirmed for 2017. “Rumours were coming around for months, and after a first flurry of them I entered a phase where at times I thought it was done, and the very same day, I felt pissed off as it would never come. The last week before the signing was confirmed was really long for me,” explains the man from La Mancha, whose transfer was announced on the same October 24th his team-mates were gathering for the official pre-season meeting in Pamplona.
“Over at Lizarte, I started doing the same things I’m supposed to do with the Movistar Team: helping out my team-mates, work hard, learn fast and progress one meter at a time. That process will be significantly trickier here as a pro – the jump between under-23 level and the WorldTour is quite a long one. I’m perfectly aware that my work will be obscure, supporting the leader – as long as I don’t have a chance to show what I’ve got inside, which I’m sure will come soon.”
Outgoing, really genial, with a mood that conquers the others from the very first moment, he soon convinced sports leaders Manolo Azcona and Juanjo Oroz from Lizarte that he was ready for the big leagues. All three years he spent as amateur saw him winning at least once, rounding it off with an excellent 2016: five wins, including the Torredonjimeno leg in the Spanish Cup for U26 competitors, as well as a total of 14 top-ten finishes, including GC podiums in prestigious U23 races like the Vuelta a Palencia or the Volta a Castelló.
“As an amateur I was an allrounder, mainly because I’m able to keep good form throughout the season. I don’t know if I’ll remain so utterly unspecialized as a pro (laughs). My goals as a Movistar Team rider – I feel there won’t be much of a change, it’s a matter of remaining strong in all terrains, sticking well into the climbs… and above all, riding strong on the flat. How could I dare not being a good rouleur coming from flatland La Mancha, I wouldn’t be worth a place there!,” jokingly claims Héctor, who has stayed for his first month of training at the beautiful Albacete hills.
Carretero, who will take the account of ‘manchegos’ in WorldTour squads back up to three in 2017 -Sergio Pardilla, now at Caja Rural, was part of the Movistar Team in the last- and share races with the Herrada brothers (“They were like idols to me since I was a little child, big references as sportsmen and human kindbeings, people who triumphs all over the world and living just 50 minutes from your home; it makes me proud to be with them”), also has many people to thank a lot about his signing with the world’s top-ranked team. “First of all, Manolo and Juanjo. They were always telling me there was a chance, but it didn’t depend only on them, also me. There are many people qualified to take this step, and I have to bring them reasons to push so this opportunity could happen.”
“I also think about all teams, directors, trainers… who treated me so well since I took up cycling at the age of eight. I can thank them enough for all chances they offered me. Also, and most importantly, my friends and my family, for their support and help so I could make it here. Life would have been completely different without them.”