After four years with the now defunct Tinkoff team, Jay McCarthy is aiming to start the 2017 season on a high with his new Bora-Hansgrohe team at the Australian national championships and Tour Down Under. The 24-year-old enjoyed a maiden professional win at the Australian WorldTour race in 2016 after placing fifth at the Australian nationals, his focus is on improving upon those results in 2017.
McCarthy hasn't raced since the Arctic Race of Norway back in August and having recovered from the virus that curtailed his season, he is ready to rock'n'roll starting with Wednesday night's national criterium title in Ballarat.
"I am healthy again and from the start of November, I have been preparing for the nationals and Tour Down Under with the new team," McCarthy told Cyclingnews ahead of the championships. "I feel about the some coming into nationals. A think for me and a lot of guys, ahead of nationals when training you know how you feel and out there I feel alright but you never know until you get into proper race conditions. In training, I have been doing the right work and I should be in similar shape to last year."
McCarthy was an aggressive animator of last year's criterium, stretching his legs and testing his condition ahead of the road race where he finished in fifth place. With another season under his belt, McCarthy is looking to emulate his performance from 2016 but improve upon the results as he explained.
"I have done a few criteriums up in Brisbane where I have spent most of my pre-season training for the last couple of months. The criterium is always good to do to open the legs a few days out before the road race," he said of the 44km race up-and-down Ballarat's Sturt St, before adding his ambitions for the road race. "I am going for a podium position and if I am going for the podium I would like to be on the top step which has been on my mind while training. I would like to go with the ambition of delivering a really good result."
The performance of the Queenslander from the 2016 nationals ensured he started the Tour Down Under in a leadership role, repaying his team with stage 2 victory, fourth overall,victory in the youth classification and a day in the race leader's jersey.
McCarthy will start the championships with the same ambition of securing a leadership role for the January 17-22 WorldTour race but with the added goal of wearing the green and gold jersey. Having conducted a recon of the Tour Down Under course last week, McCarthy has demonstrated his intent to start the season on the front font and make a good first impression for the Bora-Hansgrohe team management.
"It would be unreal for me personally and for the team," he said of what the national title would mean. "I hope to go for a good result at Tour Down Under and I hope I can prove worthy of that opportunity with a good result on Sunday," added McCarthy who will meet up with world champion Peter Sagan and his Bora-Hansgrohe teammates for the Tour Down Under in Adelaide next week.