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Almost a year after he finished third on stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia, Jay McCarthy gave another flash of his talent when he climbed to fourth place on the queen stage of the Presidential Tour of Turkey.
The 22 year old Australian rider was one of the strongest on the final climb of Elmali, battling for stage honours. Although he was unable to stick with the eventual stage winner Davide Rebellin and runner-up Kristijan Durasek (Lampre-Merida), and was passed close to the end by Eduardo Sepulveda (Bretagne-Séché Environnement), he left the rest of the field in his wake.
“It was a nice day, the team rode really well and after the major climb in the middle we had Pavel Brutt in the break with Boonen and a few of the Classics guys,” he told CyclingTips shortly after crossing the line.
“So that made it quite tough coming off the climb around the lake. Then I just played it calm in the bunch. It was good to have him up the road. I had a couple of other guys left in the bunch and we just played it cool into the climb.”
McCarthy said the team positioned him well at the bottom, after which it was up to him. “I gave it a crack. I couldn’t quite go with the first two and then one of the Bretagne guys came from the main group and we couldn’t go with them. We ended up fourth but it was a solid day.”
Separately, he said in a team release that he felt he had definitely improved on the climbs.
“After a couple of years as professional, I’m feeling a bit more powerful in these sustained uphill efforts and I’m able to last longer and keep going at a higher load. We still have a lot of Tour of Turkey left and I hope that I can protect my fourth place in the GC.”
He crossed the line one minute and 20 seconds behind Rebellin and has the same deficit in the general classification.
Directeur sportif Nicki Sørensen regards the perforamance as a breakthrough. “He’s in shape and has definitely stepped up. It’s always nice to see a young rider adding another level to his repertoire and that was what Jay showed today,” he said.
McCarthy has another chance to use his climbing abilities on the sixth stage to Selcuk. It is another summit finish and while it is not as tough as that of Elmali, gaps still tend to open there.
However he won’t limit his aspirations to what he can do on that day. He and the other GC contenders will try to isolate Rebellin on the flatter stages too.