With its dual leaders Peter Sagan and Rafa Majka both exiting the Tour de France before the half-way mark, Bora-Hansgrohe was forced to rethink its aim and ambition. In the absence of the Tour stage and classification winners, Tour debutant Jay McCarthy has been one rider to step up to the plate.
Originally given the task of shepherding Sagan on the flat and Majka in the mountains, the 24-year-old was given the opportunity to ride for his own result on stage 14 into Rodez where he was fifth. A considering effort considering the collective palmarès of Michael Matthews, Greg Van Avermaet, Philippe Gilbert and Edvald Boasson Hagen.
"I knew I had just one bullet in today's stage and that was the final, uphill 600m. I had to stay calm during the day and avoid any unnecessary moves that would make me spend energy and jeopardise our goal," McCarthy said of his tactics. "The team did a brilliant job in protecting me and setting me up for the finish. Ideally, I could have been a bit closer to the front but I think I was well positioned in the final corner, as I was able to keep my momentum and pass many riders that were struggling in the tough climb. I'm happy with my performance today and the fifth place I got."
Bora-Hansgrohe's coach Patxi Vila explained his pleasure with the result which also demonstrated the team have a role to play in the third and final week despite losing its two leaders.
"It is really nice to see that we work every day like a real team - BORA-hansgrohe has a strong-knit group of dedicated riders. After the setbacks we suffered, we don't have an overall leader but, every morning, we designate a leader and a goal for the stage and the squad sacrifices itself to reach it," Vila said. "Today again, all of them did a great job and this showed in the result. As we said before, the morale is high and we will keep giving our best all the way to Paris."
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