In a thrilling finale of the 2018 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe) came up trumps in a reduced bunch sprint to take the biggest win of his career.
Late dives to the line by Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors), and Tour Down Under champion Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) proved too little too late as McCarthy became the fourth different winner in four editions and the first Australian to triumph.
Having fallen short of a repeat Tour Down Under podium this summer, victory in Geelong was instant redemption for the 25-year-old.
"I was a little a bit disappointed at Tour Down Under but I know I gave it everything there and I felt like I deserved more out of it. Coming into today as the last race in the Australian summer, I felt like I have had a pretty consistent time here and, to finish with a win, I couldn't ask for much more," said McCarthy, who also claimed silver in the Australian nationals at the start of January.
Ensconced in the lead group coming into the final kilometres, McCarthy - along with Impey and BMC's Simon Gerrans - packed the fastest finish but the task was made immeasurably harder when the second group on the road joined up under the flamme rouge. Viviani and defending champion Nikias Ardnt (Sunweb) were the chief the danger men from behind.
However, McCarthy kept a cool head in the hot conditions for the best win yet of his young career.
"As you see, Viviani was coming in hot onto my heels in the final there," he added. "It all worked out today. Some days it goes your way and today was my day."
The opening stanza
From the gun, the day's major breakaway was established with representation from Lasse Norman Hansen (Aqua Blue Sport), Pavel Kochetkov (Katusha-Alpecin), Robbert De Greef (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij), and the Kordamentha-Australia duo of Alex Porter and Sam Welsford.
The quintet was given the all-clear from the peloton and quickly built their advantage. At the first intermediate sprint, the gap was over six minutes as Welsford took maximum points in Torquay. In the peloton, Mitchelton-Scott, Trek-Segafredo and QuickStep-Floors were the teams taking up responsibility.
After the non-contest of the sprint point, Hansen and Porter challenged each other for the mountains point with the Aqua Blue Sports rider claiming the prize. Entering the first of the Geelong circuits, the breakaway's advantage continued to hover above four minutes as the mercury tipped over 40 degrees.
Following the first of four ascents of Challambra, Welsford and De Greef lost contact. Second time up the climb, Hansen again took the KOM points to seal the classification while the peloton cut the breakaway's advantage to a touch over three minutes. Third time up, it was only Hansen and Kochetkov left at the head of the race as the Dane again crested first.
The breakaway was caught on the final lap with Challambra to prove decisive in the outcome of the result. Bora's Peter Kennaugh lit the fuse to force the selection and the front group came to include the likes of McCarthy, Kennaugh and Daniel Oss of Bora, LottoNL-Jumbo's George Bennett and Robert Gesink, Mitchelton-Scott's Daryl Impey and Esteban Chaves, plus Gerrans, Pierre Latour (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Dries Devenyns (QuickStep-Floors).
A cat and mouse final five kilometres played into the hands of the chase group, who kept up the pressure and made the junction inside the final kilometre just as a late move from Chaves was foiled.
In the sprint for the line, Maurits Lammertink led off before McCarthy came around and then held off the fast kick of Viviani, Impey and Gerrans for his victory.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora - Hansgrohe||4:04:00|
|2||Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick - Step Floors|
|3||Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott|
|4||Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick - Step Floors|
|5||Simon Gerrans (Aus) BMC Racing Team|
|6||Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb|
|7||Steele von Hoff (Aus) Kordamentha Real Estate -Australia|
|8||Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Team Katusha Alpecin|
|9||Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Team Lotto Nl - Jumbo|
|10||Lars Bak Ytting (Den) Lotto Soudal|
|11||Robert Gesink (Ned) Team Lotto Nl - Jumbo|
|12||Owain Doull (GBr) Team Sky|
|13||Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale|
|14||Koen De Kort (Ned) Trek - Segafredo|
|15||Maarten Wynants (Bel) Team Lotto Nl - Jumbo|
|16||Cameron Meyer (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|17||José Gonçalves (Por) Team Katusha Alpecin|
|18||Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale|
|19||Bjorg Lambrecht (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|20||Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Trek - Segafredo|
|21||Nathan Earle (Aus) Israel Cycling Academy|
|22||Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Bora - Hansgrohe|
|23||Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb|
|24||Eros Capecchi (Ita) Quick - Step Floors|
|25||Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Team Sky||0:00:20|
|26||Michael Storer (Aus) Team Sunweb|
|27||Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora - Hansgrohe|
|28||George Bennett (NZl) Team Lotto Nl - Jumbo|
|29||Jhoan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Mitchelton-Scott|
|30||Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal||0:01:22|
|31||Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky|
|32||Niklas Eg (Den) Trek - Segafredo|
|33||Tiago Machado (Por) Team Katusha Alpecin|
|34||Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Trek - Segafredo|
|35||Lachlan Morton (Aus) Team Dimension Data|
|36||Jack Bauer (NZl) Mitchelton-Scott|
|37||Scott Bowden (Aus) Kordamentha Real Estate -Australia|
|38||Johonatan Restrepo Valencia (Col) Team Katusha Alpecin|
|39||Jeroen Meijers (Ned) Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij|
|40||Michael Morkov (Den) Quick - Step Floors|
|41||Laurent Didier (Lux) Trek - Segafredo|
|42||Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Soudal|
|43||Mathew Hayman (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|44||Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb||0:01:49|
|45||Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Team Dimension Data|
|46||Calvin Watson (Aus) Aqua Blue Sport||0:02:39|
|47||Scott Davies (GBr) Team Dimension Data|
|48||Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij|
|49||Michel Kreder (Ned) Aqua Blue Sport|
|50||Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Quick - Step Floors|
|51||Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:04:30|
|52||Patrick Bevin (NZl) BMC Racing Team||0:04:52|
|53||Thomas Leezer (Ned) Team Lotto Nl - Jumbo|
|54||Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team|
|55||Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky||0:06:34|
|56||Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Aqua Blue Sport|
|57||Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Team Katusha Alpecin|
|58||Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott||0:08:25|
|59||Nicholas Dlamini (RSA) Team Dimension Data|
|60||Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale|
|61||Timothy Roe (Aus) Kordamentha Real Estate -Australia|
|62||August Jensen (Nor) Israel Cycling Academy||0:09:34|
|63||Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Sunweb|
|64||Etienne Van Empel (Ned) Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij||0:10:18|
|65||Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|66||Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale|
|67||Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Team Sky|
|68||Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale||0:14:15|
|69||Nico Denz (Ger) AG2R La Mondiale|
|DNF||Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Team Sunweb|
|DNF||Chad Haga (USA) Team Sunweb|
|DNF||Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora - Hansgrohe|
|DNF||Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora - Hansgrohe|
|DNF||Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Bora - Hansgrohe|
|DNF||Rudiger Selig (Ger) Bora - Hansgrohe|
|DNF||Jonathan Dibben (GBr) Team Sky|
|DNF||Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Quick - Step Floors|
|DNF||Florian Senechal (Fra) Quick - Step Floors|
|DNF||Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team|
|DNF||Tom Bohli (Swi) BMC Racing Team|
|DNF||Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team|
|DNF||Miles Scotson (Aus) BMC Racing Team|
|DNF||Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek - Segafredo|
|DNF||Alex Frame (NZl) Trek - Segafredo|
|DNF||Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|DNF||Nathan Haas (Aus) Team Katusha Alpecin|
|DNF||Mads Wurtz Schmidt (Den) Team Katusha Alpecin|
|DNF||Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Soudal|
|DNF||Robert Wagner (Ger) Team Lotto Nl - Jumbo|
|DNF||Ben O'Connor (Aus) Team Dimension Data|
|DNF||Mark Renshaw (Aus) Team Dimension Data|
|DNF||Jacobus Venter (RSA) Team Dimension Data|
|DNF||Martijn Budding (Ned) Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij|
|DNF||Tim Ariesen (Ned) Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij|
|DNF||Jeroen Meijers (Ned) Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij|
|DNF||Casper Pedersen (Den) Aqua Blue Sport|
|DNF||Peter Koning (Ned) Aqua Blue Sport|
|DNF||Shane Archbold (NZl) Aqua Blue Sport|
|DNF||Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Israel Cycling Academy|
|DNF||Roy Goldstein (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy|
|DNF||Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy|
|DNF||Hamish Schreurs (NZl) Israel Cycling Academy|
|DNF||Tyler Williams (USA) Israel Cycling Academy|
|DNF||Alexander Porter (Aus) Kordamentha Real Estate -Australia|
|DNF||Samuel Welsford (Aus) Kordamentha Real Estate -Australia|
|DNF||Michael Rice (Aus) Kordamentha Real Estate -Australia|
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