Tour Down Under podium remains the objective for McCarthy

Bora-Hansgrohe rider praises of calming Peter Sagan influence

Two-seconds off the Tour Down Under podium in fourth place overall, Jay McCarthy is hoping to kick some respiratory issues before Saturday's Willunga Hill queen stage and storm his way into the top three.

The Bora-Hansgrohe rider has been fourth overall since stage 1, having taken three seconds in time bonuses in an intermediate sprint. With his ride up Paracombe on stage 2, he ensured that he is on track to match and possibly better his fourth place overall from last year.

While Richie Porte is in a commanding position with a 20-second lead over Gorka Izagirre (Movistar) and 22-seconds over Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott), McCarthy explained to Cyclingnews on the morning of stage 3 that the BMC man doesn't necessarily have the overall in the bag.

"It will be hard to beat him. We have seen in the last few years that he has dominated Willunga Hill and the seconds he got yesterday, I think it is going to be hard to beat him," McCarthy said of Porte's Paracombe victory.

"Chaves, we have seen what he can do in long breakaway and things like that so it is never out of the option. They can mix it up and not just wait for Willunga. It is going to be a race now."

Having picked up a handful of bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint points thus far, McCarthy and Bora won't "emphasise" the bonifications but should the opportunity present itself the 24-year-old will utilise his "kick".

With world champion Peter Sagan by his side, aiding his aspirations for the podium, McCarthy explained the Slovakian has been a key calming influence at the race boosting his confidence and motivation for the best possible result.

"Peter and I have been teammates for the last few years and he is a friendly guy. Over the last few years we've probably become pretty friends and to have him out there and giving me support yesterday was awesome," McCarthy said of his teammate for two years at Tinkoff. "We support him a lot of the time during the year, and so we should. He is pretty."

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