Coming into the final day stage at the Tour Down Under, Jay McCarthy (Bora-hansgrohe) needed three seconds to draw level on time with Nathan Haas and bump his compatriot off the final podium due to his accumulative better placing’s across the week.
With 12 seconds on offer across two intermediate sprint points and ten, six, and four seconds available on the finish line, McCarthy’s three-second deficit was well and truly achievable during the 90km Adelaide city street circuit.
With world champion Peter Sagan on lead out duty, McCarthy took out the first sprint point with the Slovakian in second and Caleb Ewan third. The three bonus seconds saw McCarthy and Haas swap positions and put him in prime position of this first WorldTour podium.
With a breakaway stealing the seconds at intermediate point two, McCarthy was then one place behind Haas at the finish in tenth, enough to secure the best result yet of his young career.
“It’s unbelievable. We had this planned before. We always have meetings before races and it always sounds good in the room when we are talking about it but for it to pay off today and have the current world champion lead me out for the bonus seconds for the first intermediate sprint point was unbelievable. We are on the podium,” McCarthy happily said in a brief media scrum as he made his way to the podium.
Having picked up a slight chest sickness that was plaguing the Tour Down Under peloton, McCarthy had told Cyclingnews on stage 4 he was hoping to get better as the race went on. With new team Bora-Hansgrohe and Sagan backing his ambitions to better his fourth place, McCarthy repaid the faith shown in the 24-year-old and bagged some crucial early season WorldTour points ahead of the Classics.
“I have said it all week, Sagan has come here with a little bit of his own ambition in the stage results but from the beginning he has given me the chance to go for a GC result with the team. To have him out there guiding me, it’s unbelievable,” added McCarthy before being whisked away for the podium celebrations.